Resolving the Crisis of Black Maternal Health: An Urgent Call to Action


In the United States, black women face a grave crisis in maternal health, as they continue to experience disproportionately high rates of mortality and morbidity compared to other racial and ethnic groups. The persistent disparities in black maternal health outcomes reflect a deeply rooted problem that demands immediate attention and systemic change. To address this crisis, we must confront the underlying structural and institutional factors that perpetuate these disparities and implement comprehensive solutions that prioritize the well-being of black mothers and their infants.

The Alarming Disparities: 

The Alarming Disparities: Black maternal health disparities are stark and inexcusable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. This racial gap persists across socioeconomic lines, indicating that access to resources alone cannot rectify the issue. Additionally, black women experience higher rates of preterm birth, low birth weight, and pregnancy-related complications, which have long-lasting consequences for both mothers and infants.


Root Causes: Structural and Institutional Factors: The crisis in black maternal health is rooted in systemic issues. Racial bias and discrimination within healthcare institutions play a significant role in the unequal treatment and outcomes experienced by black women. Numerous studies have documented implicit biases that result in inadequate prenatal care, delayed diagnoses, and inappropriate treatment for black mothers. Cultural insensitivity and a lack of diverse representation among healthcare providers further compound these disparities.

Social Determinants of Health: The impact of social determinants of health cannot be overlooked when addressing black maternal health disparities. Poverty, limited access to quality healthcare, and the enduring effects of systemic racism contribute to adverse outcomes. Neighborhood environments with food deserts, higher levels of stress, and limited resources exacerbate the challenges faced by black women during pregnancy and childbirth.

A Multifaceted Approach for Resolution: Resolving the crisis of black maternal health requires a multifaceted approach that addresses both the immediate and underlying factors. The following steps should be taken:

  1. Invest in Quality Prenatal Care: Ensure access to comprehensive prenatal care that is culturally sensitive, respectful, and addresses the unique needs of black women. This includes adequate staffing, equitable distribution of resources, and education on potential risks and complications.

  2. Eliminate Racial Bias in Healthcare: Implement anti-bias training programs for healthcare providers, enforce strict guidelines against discriminatory practices, and promote diversity within the healthcare workforce to foster cultural competency and sensitivity.

  3. Enhance Community Support and Education: Empower community organizations and grassroots initiatives focused on educating black women about their rights, options, and resources during pregnancy and childbirth. Create accessible platforms to share information, stories, and support networks.

  4. Address Social Determinants of Health: Tackle systemic issues such as poverty, housing disparities, and food insecurity by implementing policies that improve living conditions, increase economic opportunities, and prioritize community development.

  5. Research and Data Collection: Invest in robust research and data collection to better understand the root causes of disparities, track progress, and inform evidence-based policies and interventions.

Overall the crisis of black maternal health in the United States is a grave injustice that demands immediate action. By acknowledging and dismantling the structural and institutional factors perpetuating these disparities, we can pave the way for a more equitable future. Resolving this crisis requires a comprehensive approach that addresses bias, promotes culturally competent care, and tackles the social determinants of health. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that every mother, regardless of race, receives the care and support she needs for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. 


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Racial and Ethnic Disparities Continue in Pregnancy-Related Deaths. Retrieved from

  2. Howell, E. A. (2017). Reducing disparities in severe maternal morbidity and mortality. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 60(2), 411-422.

  3. Crear-Perry, J., & Collins, J. W. (2019). Racial and ethnic disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality: A report from the National Birth Equity Collaborative. Retrieved from

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