Black Expecting Women are Leaning on Doula’s for Survival
Doulas, specifically Black doulas, are shifting the mortality rate for Black American women and improving their overall pregnancy experience.
In a CBS News Segment titled: Black Doulas combat the maternal mortality crisis, writer Nina Bahadur discusses why the Black mortality rate is higher among Black women than any other race. Statistics regarding this are referred to as an embarrassment by the CBS correspondent in the video, and I couldn’t agree more.
As a Black woman, I have often had to advocate for myself due to mistreatment I’ve received from physicians that I believe to be biases that Black people face. Our pain and medical concerns go untreated, leading to even more illness or fatality. It is no different for Black expecting women, and it’s mortifying. These deaths should not be occurring in a well-developed country, and studies show prevention is possible.
The statistic that Black mothers are 3 to 4 times more likely to die during childbirth than White mothers should be declared a national medical emergency. Thank goodness we have doulas to help combat these statistics.
Doulas (a trained companion who supports and provides guidance to pregnant women) are the new saviors apart of this growing trend for many Black women who find that having a doula increases their chances of a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.
Ms. Bahadur explains that doulas are in high demand because research shows that Black women are less likely to experience complications due to c-section and pre-term births. Doulas empower and teach families the critical questions to ask their physicians and monitor their treatment. They aid as an advocate, so patients get full care.
The Covid-19 crisis has made acquiring a doula in the delivery room during birth more challenging. It could hinder the positive shift in statistics, but doula’s illustrate determination to help by providing virtual services at this time. Showing there aren’t many lengths they won’t go to affect change.
Because of the demand for doulas, free and low-cost services are implemented in many programs designed for lower-income families across the country. “Many doulas will offer sliding scale fees or have more affluent clients sponsor another family’s services,” says Bahadur.
All in all, when there is a will, there is a way. Due to the rise in doula care, Black women may lead in the mortality rate now, but it doesn’t have to remain that way, and doulas are here to prove a shift is possible.