November 26, 2019

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The Black community is facing a horrific health crisis that isn't gaining enough attention. The high infant mortality rate of Black/African-American women is an alarming statistic.

The United States faces 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births nationally, but behind these numbers hide severe racial disparities. In Oakland alone, the Alameda County Public Health Departmen...

May 10, 2019

I chose to have a midwife-led home birth with the understanding that Black birthing people disproportionately experience poor treatment in clinical settings and are faced with negative pregnancy and birth outcomes including preeclampsia, hemorrhage, pregnancy loss, and death (Amnesty International 2010).

February 28, 2019

Expectant mothers are magnets for attention. Strangers in elevators comment on their baby bumps. Co-workers offer unprompted advice. Family and friends pass judgment on everything from epidurals to pregnancy diet to breastfeeding.

All that scrutiny could be too much to bear for any mom-to-be. But, it can be especially fraught for Black women. Some may struggle to get quality maternity c...

April 13, 2016

Black Women Birthing Justice invites you to join the conversation about our new book Birthing Justice. Every two weeks, we will post a new chapter from the book on our blog alongside messages from the editors and contributors. Readers are invited to read the chapter, and comment on the questions from the Discussion Guide in the space below this blog. Please indicate your name and locat...

February 4, 2016

Birth justice – obstetric violence – dehumanized care – respectful maternity care – why do we have these conversations?

 

Globally there are far too many incidents of disrespect and violations to women and their families during pregnancy, labor and birth. Although there is little actual data available the stories are all too familiar. In the Caribbean region, women accessing care are too...

March 31, 2015

 

A Midwife’s Perspective 

 

For over twenty years, I have worked with the Harlem Birth Action Committee to activate, agitate and educate women and their families about the over-medicalization of childbirth. Last year, I took a sabbatical and was honored to have the opportunity to accept a three-month nurse-midwifery fellowship in Somaliland, East Africa.

 

Somaliland is an autonomous regio...

March 24, 2015

 

My awakening to birth injustice began thousands of miles away from my hood of Baltimore City where we see some of the poorest birth outcomes in America. It happened in Ghana, West Africa. 

 

I moved to Ghana in 1999 after working for years as a midwifery apprentice. I felt a strong desire to learn traditional childbirth rituals and customs from African midwives. After a year in the...

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