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In order to see true change, it takes a true team effort.

April 11 to April 17, is Black Maternal Health Week, where the nation focuses on the injustices of Black mothers and their children face when it comes to their health compared to their counterparts.

Created by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Black Maternal Health Week promotes activism, unites our communities, and gives everyone the capacity to speak out and effect change.

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The fact of the matter is maternal death rates have increased alarmingly in recent years, and differences in these rates are getting wider.

Mothers are dying during childbirth in the United States at higher rates than in other high-income nations, and these deaths are mostly preventable. Among all racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., black women suffer at the greatest rate—nearly three times that of white women.

Now that we have a better understanding what Black mothers and Black soon-to-be mothers are facing, here are some important facts and some ways you can help spread awareness on the life and death matter at hand.

Here are the facts:

According to the most current CDC study, the mortality rate for Black women increased from 55 to roughly 70 per 100,000 live births in 2021. Despite having fewer babies in 2021, Black women continued to experience higher death rates.

High-risk women and pregnant persons are losing access to maternal health care as a result of the widespread shortage of clinicians in this field.

What You Can Do to Spread Awareness:

The key to enhancing maternal health, according to experts, lies in grassroots initiatives that support marginalized communities, networks of teams that support maternal-child health, such as perinatal quality collaboratives, and supportive care from doulas.

If anything doesn’t seem right or is worrying, consult a healthcare professional.

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If you experience any of the urgent maternal warning signs, such as a strong headache, significant hand or face swelling, difficulty breathing, heavy vaginal bleeding or discharge, extreme exhaustion, and more, be aware of them and seek quick medical attention. These signs could be the first sign of a potentially fatal condition.

Before giving birth and for a year after, discuss your most recent pregnancies with your doctor at every appointment. Before, during, and after pregnancy, establish connections with the healthcare and social support systems.

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