Genome Medical

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


Racism in Pregnancy and Childbearing: A Path to Equal Reproductive Rights

By | Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

As part of our five-part series on Making Black Lives Matter In Health Care, we seek to uncover facts and share insights on the racial disparities impacting health, with a particular focus on the role of genetics and genomics. By bringing light to these issues, we hope to be a part of the solution to address these inequities and improve health outcomes for all. In the first installment of this series, we highlighted that non-white people who are pregnant are more likely to have pregnancy complications and pre-term delivery and are more likely to die after delivery. In fact, Black mothers die at a rate of 2.5 times that of white women (37.1 Black women per 100,000 compared to 14.7 white women). Additionally, their infants are more likely to die in the newborn period. Even those who would seem to have every advantage in their pregnancy-related care may be at risk. In the words of journalists Nina Martin and Renee Montagne in their story on the death of former U.S. Public Health Service lieutenant commander Shalon MauRene Irving, “Nothing protects Black women from dying in pregnancy and childbirth. Not education. Not income. Not even being an expert on racial disparities…

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