On March 15, 2019, Reproaction led a discussion as a part of the Women’s History Month events at the University of Missouri. About 50 people attended this discussion anchored in the racial health disparities that drive our maternal and infant mortality campaign: On average, Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, regardless of wealth or education; Black babies are twice as likely to die in their first year of life than white babies. Missouri’s average maternal and infant mortality rates are on par with this national average. These outcomes are especially horrible because the United States spends more money on healthcare per capita than any other country in the world. Moms and babies deserve better!
The second piece of this discussion focused on the causes, how they are all interrelated, and how racism resides at the axis point. We spent most of this portion on the role of caretakers because most attendees fell into this category. Since people are more aware of the role of doctors and physicians, the contributions of midwives and doulas was emphasized instead of relegated to the margins. Within this context, a video from the documentary series produced by Every Mother Counts, Giving Birth in America, was used to provide more insight into the ways doulas contribute by showing how Black doulas in New York City are working to address maternal and infant mortality. After this, we promoted doula programs in Missouri as spaces attendees could seek out more information and training. The difference in experiences and costs between midwives and OB-GYNs was also discussed. Moms deserve to know all of their choices and be able to afford birthing however they decide!
The final piece of this discussion was centered on ways people can get involved with Reproaction’s maternal and infant mortality campaign by joining our email list and participating in our photo campaign. I encourage everyone to follow Reproaction on social media and share our content so it reaches more people: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Last, but certainly not least, support our work by donating.