The Midwives and Doulas Fighting Black Maternal Mortality

Through this work, Roach is carrying on a family tradition. “My great-grandmother was a black midwife,” she explains. When she was growing up, Roach remembers parents and new babies constantly coming in and out of her family’s home to receive pregnancy and postpartum care. Roach’s birth experiences have also contributed to her dedication to black […]

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Congresswoman Alma Adams on Why She Co-Founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus

Discussions about black maternal mortality often center on depressing statistics, like the fact that the maternal mortality rate is 42.8 deaths per 100,000 live births for black non-Hispanic women in the United States compared with 13 deaths per 100,000 live births for non-Hispanic white women. That focus makes sense—we need to face the problem in […]

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We Need to Talk More About Postpartum Rage

After my first child was born, one of my most intrusive thoughts was that I didn’t have enough time to pet my cats anymore. I would weep for the cats, worried that they felt they’d lost us now that all our attention went to the new screaming alien in the house. My brother’s girlfriend reassured […]

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You’re Black and Pregnant. What Should Your Birth Plan Look Like?

I first heard of a birth plan in the summer of 2016 at a hypnobirthing class I took while I was pregnant. My daughter’s father and I dutifully attended the eight-week birth education course at a local hospital. There, we were part of a circle of first-time parents who, like us, had questions about everything […]

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Coming Out as a Bi Parent Is an Ongoing Conversation

As the author of multiple memoirs, psychotherapist Wendy C. Ortiz, M.F.T., is no stranger to personal disclosures. In her books, she’s told readers about her teenage sexual exploits and her struggles as a 20-something Angeleno, and she’s even provided lengthy descriptions of her dreams. But over the past few years, Ortiz has been navigating a […]

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8 Ways We Can Actually Reduce Black Maternal Mortality

Maybe you heard about Shalon Irving from Atlanta, who collapsed and died from complications of high blood pressure in the weeks after giving birth to her first daughter, Soleil. She was 36. Maybe you heard about Marqwetta Johnson from Tulsa, who died from an ectopic pregnancy that led to cardiac arrest. She was 42. Maybe […]

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9 Organizations Working Against Black Maternal Mortality

My assignment for this story was originally to highlight people who have dedicated themselves to combating the black maternal mortality crisis. But the more I spoke to those very people, the more I saw one major thread: Individuals doing this life-saving work are much more interested in shining a spotlight on the organizations they’ve founded […]

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How Stress Of Racism Has Biological Weathering and Its Deadly Effect on Black Mothers

Weathering, a theory that the stress of racism has biological effects on black people, could be a cause behind black maternal mortality rates.   Imagine for a moment that you’re a very silly 22-year-old driving through Florida sometime around 2009. You’re speeding down a road called Alligator Alley at approximately 92 miles an hour, which […]

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As a Doctor and Mother, Here’s What I Wish People Knew About the Maternal Mortality Crisis

A 28-year old woman arrived to the ER wheezing and short of breath. She had asthma and came in requesting a refill of her inhaler. But when I examined her, I found out that something else much more serious was going on. The patient’s blood pressure was very high. Her legs and arms were swollen. […]

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Spotting During Pregnancy: 3 Signs It Could Signal a Problem

Spotting during pregnancy—as in, bleeding from your vagina when you’re most definitely not on your period because, hello, you’re pregnant—can be a perplexing issue. Isn’t one of the boons of pregnancy not ruining more underwear with period blood? Sorry to break it to you, but spotting during pregnancy is a thing. Though it’s probably easier […]

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We Need to Stop Acting Like Vasectomies Are Heroic

In February 2018, just as my husband and I were planning his vasectomy, we discovered that I was pregnant with our third child. After the initial shock of our positive pregnancy test wore off, my husband scheduled an April vasectomy with the haste of a man who’d had his fill of consoling croupy infants at […]

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So, Let’s Talk About That Whole Fertility and Age 35 Thing

You’ve probably heard the term “biological clock” used to describe the idea that, in people with ovaries, fertility potential is constantly ticking away as if it’s on a timer that will eventually reach zero. That ticking apparently gets louder and more urgent through your 20s and 30s, pushing you to get pregnant and have a […]

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