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How FPCN is Addressing Black Maternal Health Disparities

This week (April 11 -17) marks Black Maternal Health Week, a week of awareness, activism, and community building initiated by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance.

The purpose of this campaign is to deepen the national conversation about Black maternal health in the US and encourage work around policy, research, and solutions to this problem.

Our commitment to Black mamas FPCN is committed to opening a birth center led by midwives to serve families of color, especially Black birthing people, in Philadelphia.

Why do we even need a Black Maternal Health Week?

For the first time in more than a decade, the government released updated maternal mortality statistics in late January 2020. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that – at 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births – the United States continues to perform dismally, ranking about 55th worldwide, and 10 out of 10 among similarly wealthy countries in this measure. Pregnant and birthing people who are Black continue to die at three to four times the rate as their white counterparts. In Philadelphia, Black individuals make up 45% of the annual birthing population, yet account for 75% of all pregnancy-related maternal deaths. 

About 60 percent of all pregnancy-related deaths are preventable through more comprehensive and personalized care. This is why we are so committed to opening a birth center serving our Black communities.

How will birth centers and midwives improve outcomes for Black communities?

To start, states that make it easier for midwives to care for families have fewer preterm and underweight births and require fewer cesarean section deliveries, all of which are risk factors for maternal mortality and morbidity. 

In Philadelphia, a large proportion of maternal deaths (of which the majority are Black individuals) are linked to psychosocial and behavioral health factors such as depression and/or anxiety leading to suicide; drug addiction (including relapse) leading to accidental overdose; and intimate partner violence (IPV). 

We will incorporate FPCN´s proven model of integrated behavioral health at the birth center to address these behavioral and psychosocial risk factors. Our behavioral health focus, tied into compassionate and personalized pre- and postnatal care, will have a direct impact on maternal mortality and morbidity in the city.

Our providers will also be required to participate in racial bias training in order to recognize their unconscious biases and adopt new tools to adjust automatic patterns of thinking and eliminate discriminatory behaviors.

How can I support this important project?

If you would like to continue to support our initiative, please be sure to keep an eye out for our monthly newsletter updates and share exciting news about our FPCN Birth Center with your loved ones!

For more information or to donate to the Birth Center, click here. And of course, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for real-time updates. If you are not on our newsletter list already, be sure to subscribe to receive updates.

To read our other blog posts, click here

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