Black Women Are Dying During Childbirth And No One Seems To Care

Maia Niguel Hoskin, Ph.D.
ZORA
Published in
4 min readJun 24, 2022

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After a grueling six-day hospital stay while seven months pregnant, I was forced to grapple with how scary is to be a Black pregnant woman.

No, it’s not Black Maternal Health Week, but earlier this month, I was reminded of the grim statistics that Black women face when it comes to maternal mortality and how frightening it can be for pregnant Black women. At seven months pregnant, I was admitted to the hospital for over a week after experiencing high blood pressure, which may have triggered several small decelerations in our unborn daughter’s heart rate. Thankfully, after six days of close observation in the hospital, both my blood pressure and our daughter’s heart rate were stable enough for me to return home. But sadly, many Black women do not share that same fate, and often it is the result of racism, not race.

Last Wednesday, a monthly prenatal visit turned into a six-day, anxiety-producing, grueling, and uncomfortable stay at the hospital. My OBGYN immediately directed me to labor and delivery for further observation after two concerning high blood pressure readings and detecting protein in my urine, both of which are typical symptoms associated with pre-eclampsia. This sometimes fatal condition can occur during pregnancy and disproportionately affects Black women. Over the six days that I was in the hospital, the severity of my health deescalated from possibly needing an emergency c-section to being deemed stable enough for release. But that determination was not made without much thought and consideration.

Thankfully, I was surrounded by a supportive, highly capable, experienced medical team who were overly cautious and cared about the health and safety of myself and my daughter. I was also fortunate to be surrounded by a diverse medical team who truly understood the unique risks that expecting Black women face. Overall, maternal mortality rates in the U.S. are concerning. Each year in the United States, about 700 women die during pregnancy or during the year after delivery. Each year, another 50,000 women have unexpected labor and delivery outcomes with serious short- or long-term health consequences. Even more disheartening, two in three pregnancy-related deaths are preventable.

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Maia Niguel Hoskin, Ph.D.
ZORA
Editor for

@zora Guest Editor, Professor, Forbes Contributor, Race Scholar, Activist, Therapist, Keynote Speaker, Consultant, Wife, Mother, & Addict of Ice Cream &Cheese.