The week of April 11-17, 2023 is Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW). This week is dedicated to raising awareness around the struggles Black mothers face and addressing the health disparities that make it challenging for them to receive help for these struggles. Each year, this week is dedicated to focusing on building awareness, pushing for change, and amplifying voices of Black mothers and birthing people.
The theme for 2023 is “Our Bodies Belong to Us: Restoring Black Autonomy and Joy!” 2023’s theme for BMHW will emphasize the strength of the community and the human right of individuals to live freely, safely, and joyfully as themselves. Further, as the maternal mortality rate in the United States is increasing, BMHW highlights the need for more comprehensive, culturally appropriate, and diverse practices within reproductive healthcare.
Did you know?
- Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women, a statistic that spans income and education levels.
- Black women are also more likely to be uninsured and less likely to have access to prenatal care, which can lead to higher preterm birth rates, low birthweights, and increased infant mortality. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate amongst developed nations at around 700 pregnancy-related deaths each year.
- Black women are also more likely to experience postpartum depression, and less likely to receive help for it.
What changes are needed?
- Expanded healthcare coverage and access.
- Ensure that healthcare options are respectful, culturally appropriate, and safe for Black mothers and birthing people.
- Address the social determinants of health that prevent Black mothers and birthing people from receiving quality care.
- Prioritize postpartum education and support.
- Expand protections for pregnant workers.
How can I celebrate?
- Educate yourself on the struggles faced by Black mothers and birthing people.
- Amplify the voices of Black mothers and birthing people.
- Acknowledge April as National Minority Health Month and April 11th as International Day for Maternal Health and Rights.
At Horizon, we remain committed to providing quality care to all populations and upholding our Stronger Together Action Plan.
Black Mothers Are Dying in the US (babyscripts.com)
Black Women’s Maternal Health: (nationalpartnership.org)
BMHW23 SM Toolkit PUBLIC_ (blackmamasmatter.org)
Supporting Black Women’s Maternal Mental Health Journey | AHA News
2023 Black Maternal Health Week – Black Mamas Matter Alliance