Black Maternal Health Week is an important time to raise awareness about the disparities that Black women face when it comes to maternal health care. In Philadelphia, like in many other cities in the United States, Black women are at a higher risk of experiencing complications during pregnancy and childbirth. The reasons for this are complex and there is much work to be done to address these disparities and ensure that Black women receive the care and support they need to have healthy pregnancies and births. The Philadelphia Health Department Division of Maternal, Child, and Family Health (MCFH) is committed to doing this work, partnering with the community, and amplifying the voices of lived experience experts.
Some key factors that contribute to the disparities in maternal health are racism and discrimination in the healthcare system. Black women are more likely to experience mistreatment or bias from healthcare providers, which can have a significant impact on their health outcomes. For example, a recent study found that Black women who reported experiencing discrimination during pregnancy were more likely to have preterm births and low birth weight babies. There is an urgent need for healthcare providers to address racism and bias in their practice and provide culturally competent care to all patients.
Another important issue that affects Black maternal health in Philadelphia is access to care. Many Black women in Philadelphia live in neighborhoods with limited access to quality healthcare facilities and may face transportation or financial barriers that make it difficult to access care. This can lead to delays in prenatal care, missed appointments, and other issues that can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. It is crucial for policymakers and healthcare providers to work together to address these barriers and ensure that all women have access to the care they need.
In terms of solutions, there are many community-based initiatives and organizations working to support Black maternal health in Philadelphia. The Black Mamas Matter Alliance, the lead organizer of Black Maternal Health Week, is a national organization that advocates for policies and programs that improve maternal health outcomes for Black women. Locally, MCFH provides a range of services and support to pregnant and parenting women in the Philadelphia area, with a focus on addressing the needs of low-income and marginalized communities. There are organizations that are doing important work to address the systemic issues that contribute to disparities in Black maternal health, and their efforts are essential to improving outcomes for Black women and their families.
Ultimately, addressing disparities in Black maternal health requires a multifaceted approach that addresses the root causes. This includes addressing racism and bias in the healthcare system, improving access to care for all women, and supporting community-based organizations. During Black Maternal Health Week, we must come together as a community to raise awareness about these issues, advocate for change, and support the women and families who are most affected by these disparities. Only by working together can we create a future where all women have access to the care and support they need to have healthy pregnancies and births. Visit PhillyLovesFamilies.com to learn more, connect with services, and learn what is being done to improve Black maternal health.