Recognizing Black Maternal Health Week

While the United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among developed countries, Black women are disproportionately impacted, regardless of income, socioeconomic status, or education levels. Black mothers in the United States are three to four times more likely than White mothers to die from pregnancy-related causes. Black women also suffer from life-threatening pregnancy complications twice as often as White women. And all-too-often, those complications are related to heart disease (consider cardiovascular and coronary conditions), a leading cause of death in pregnant and postpartum women. That’s why WomenHeart supports a resolution introduced in Congress today to recognize Black Maternal Health Week.

This is the second year in a row that this resolution designating April 11-17 as Black Maternal Health Week has been introduced by Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Representative Alma Adams (D-NC).  It recognizes the Black maternal health crisis, amplifies the voices of Black women working to address this crisis, and calls on Congress to address the problem.

As we acknowledge this week, in the context of National Minority Health Month, we lift up WomenHeart Champions like Pam, who experienced heart failure when she was 33 weeks pregnant, and Elizabeth, who was diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy a week after giving birth to twins.

WomenHeart Champion Elizabeth Corshu and her twin sons

WomenHeart recognizes the impact of racial discrimination and social determinants of health on pregnancy outcomes in the United States. Additionally, we understand the impact that these factors have on mis-diagnosis and delayed treatment for Black women. Therefore, we are committed to educating women about pregnancy-related heart diseases and to advocating for and supporting polices that engage providers and patients in addressing heart disease before, during, and after pregnancy in order to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, especially for those most at risk.

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