Celebrate Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW)
This week is a reminder that so many families experience pain, neglect, and loss during what should be one of the most joyous times of their lives. It is an urgent call for action. Black women in America are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women.
On April 13, President Biden signed the first-ever proclamation marking Black Maternal Health Week. This year’s official theme for Black Maternal Health Week 2023 (#BMHW23) is “Our Bodies Belong to Us: Restoring Black Autonomy and Joy!”
In light of the steadily alarming rise of maternal mortality in the U.S., which recent data shows has been exacerbated by the pandemic; and amidst growing cases of clear neglect in care in hospital systems immediately after labor and delivery, BMMA continues to highlight and center culturally-congruent practices with a focus on Black Midwifery care and full-spectrum Black-led Doula care as sound, evidence-based solutions. Most importantly, these are practices and solutions that incorporate the true needs, wants and desires of Black women and birthing people.
We need to bring attention and action in improving Black maternal health. Everyone can play a role in working to prevent pregnancy-related deaths and improving maternal health outcomes.
How you can support pregnant people in your life to reduce factors that contribute to pregnancy-related complications and death.
Pregnant people and their families can:
- Talk to a healthcare provider if anything doesn’t feel right or is concerning.
- Know and seek immediate care if experiencing any of the urgent maternal warning signs, including severe headache, extreme swelling of hands or face, trouble breathing, heavy vaginal bleeding or discharge, overwhelming tiredness, and more. These symptoms could indicate a potentially life-threatening complication.
- Share recent pregnancy history during each medical care visit for up to one year after delivery.
- Connect with healthcare and social support systems before, during, and after pregnancy.