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Black Maternal Health Week: April 11-17, 2021

Updated: 4/12/2021

This week, Kaleida Health joins the country in recognizing Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW).

Founded by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA), a national network of organizations and leaders from the maternal health, human rights, and reproductive justice fields, BMHW is a week of education and advocacy around the experiences of Black Mamas. BMMA uses the phrase “Black Mamas” to represent the full diversity of our lived experiences that includes birthing persons (cis women, trans folks, and gender nonconforming individuals) and all people of African descent across the diaspora (Afro-Latinx, African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Black, and African Immigrant).

Through a series of digital and community events, BMHW uplifts Black-women led entities to focus on the root causes of poor maternal health outcomes while also leaning on Black voices to drive conversation around tangible community-driven policy, programs, and solutions. The theme of this year's celebration is "Claiming our Power, Resilience, and Liberation."

As the BMHW national campaign moves into its fourth year, the country is reckoning with the many largely structural and systemic factors that contribute to poor maternal outcomes for women and birthing people, especially those of color. However, with the ever increasing threat of COVID-19, most do not understand how this also exacerbates the intersecting oppressions and brutal hardships Black Mamas face. The truth is in the facts and they are grave: Black women are three times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white women.

Statistics about Black Maternal Health in New York State:

  • In New York State, Black women are approximately three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women
  • In New York City, Black women are approximately eight times more likely to die in childbirth than white women
  • Regardless of insurance type, black birthing people in New York State died at a greater rate than any other ethnic/racial group
  • In 2016, New York State was ranked 30th in the nation for its maternal mortality rate, with clear racial disparities
  • In a report by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on severe maternal morbidity (SMM), non-Hispanic black women with at least a college degree had higher SMM rates than women of other races/ethnicities who never graduated high school. Also, in looking at other factors affecting maternal outcomes, NYC found that non-Hispanic black women with normal pre-pregnancy BMI had higher rates of SMM than women of every other race/ethnicity who were obese

To learn more about BMHW and get involved, visit https://blackmamasmatter.org/bmhw/, follow #BMHW21 on social media, and follow Kaleida Health's social media channels throughout the week.