Beyond discussing the stark disparity in maternal mortality between Black and white women, there is an opportunity to explore alternatives in medical care and bridge the gap in care.
Breana Lipscomb, senior advisor for Maternal Health & Rights at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the space created by Black Maternal Health Week provides an opportunity to highlight the work of phenomenal doulas, midwives, researchers and advocates fighting on behalf of Black mamas.
Black midwives, doulas, and lactation consultants all play a crucial role in improving Black mothers’ care. According to Lipscomb, research shows that having a doula present or birthing with a midwife improves birth outcomes.
“Black women face disrespect, abuse, and mistreatment in facility-based settings like hospitals, at a much higher rate than other people of color, particularly, more so than white women,” Lipscomb shared. “We have to make sure that they are receiving safe and respectful care when they walk into a hospital.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights has three policy priorities: improving data quality, access to care and addressing racism both within and outside the health care system. Enhancing data quality involves having a better representation of midwives, doulas, lactation consultants and other community-based providers participating in maternal mortality review committees.
Lipscomb said that improving access to care involved adjusting the Medicaid rules to create a standard for postpartum care beyond the 60 days of postpartum coverage that previously served as the baseline. Continue Reading