Thursday, March 1, 2018

America's Workplaces are Destroying Black Maternal Health

CLASP (Feb. 27, 2018): America's Workplaces are Destroying Black Maternal Health, by Ruth Cosse & Eduardo Hernandez

A new blog post recaps the obstacles that black women still face in accessing quality maternal health care.

Higher levels of workplace stress coupled with the inadequate prenatal care that many low-income pregnant women experience is associated with higher rates of preterm births and infant mortality, according to CLASP report.  Non-Hispanic Black women face the highest (16.3 percent) of preterm births, while non-Hispanic white women have one of the lowest rates (10.2 percent) of preterm of births. The infant mortality rate for black babies currently stands at twice the national average, and black women are two to three times likelier to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women.

There is also still progress to be made on paid leave. Lack of paid leave may increase a mother’s risk of postpartum depression and make them less likely to breastfeed. Lack of paid leave also can prevent infants and toddlers from accessing the frequent well-baby visits since at that age many babies are susceptible to colds and other minor illnesses. 80 percent of black women are either the household’s sole earner or they bring in nearly half of their household’s income, compared to just 50 percent of white mothers.

CLASP urges passage of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and Healthy Families Act to expand access to paid leave for Black mothers and people with low-incomes, and advocates for black maternal health are fighting to ensure that funding and investments are made in state health care systems and providers to support the health of black mothers and their children.

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