Health & Science

White House proclaims April 11-17 as Black Maternal Health Week

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The White House released a statement on Friday proclaiming April 11 through 17 as Black Maternal Health Week. This special week dedicated to raising awareness about Black maternal health in the United States was founded and organized by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications. Black women are three to five times more likely to have a maternal death than White women in the United States. Furthermore, hospitals in areas with higher percentages of Black residents were less likely to provide recommended maternity care practices supportive of breastfeeding, and Black mothers are more likely to suffer from PMADs (Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders) like postpartum depression without receiving clinical help.

In his statement, President Biden urges Americans to raise awareness about Black maternal health by “amplifying the voices and experiences of Black women, families, and communities, and committing to building a world in which Black women do not have to fear for their safety, their well-being, their dignity, or their lives before, during, and after pregnancy.”

About Black Maternal Health Week

Black Maternal Health Week is an annual event which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. This is the second year that the Biden Administration has publicly supported the initiative. Some of the goals of the week are to advocate for maternal health care research and policies that center communities of color, as well as provide a national platform for Black-led institutions working on maternal health and reproductive justice.

This year’s theme is “Building for Liberation: Centering Black Mamas, Black Families and Black Systems of Care”—reflecting the need for prioritizing Black families’ perspectives in the global fight to end maternal mortality. Some of the activities scheduled for Black Maternal Health Week include a policy conversation featuring Vice President Kamala Harris, local group walks and wellness activities, as well as other webinars and symposiums.

How to support Black Maternal Health Week

If you aren’t able to participate in any of the week’s digital events, there are still plenty of ways to support Black Maternal Health Week. 

  • Follow the Black Mamas Matter Alliance on social media to amplify their voices and take part in the conversation. Find them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
  • Watch their new Black Maternal Health Week kick-off video on YouTube, and while you’re there check out the many other videos they have on maternal health and Black motherhood.
  • Contribute what you can to the Black Mamas Matter Alliance’s annual fundraiser. Their official Annual Fundraising Day is on Thursday, April 14, but you can donate at any time during the week!

Mckenna Saady is a staff writer and digital content lead for ParentsTogether. Before working for nonprofits such as the Human Rights Campaign and United Way, Mckenna spent nearly a decade as a child care provider and Pre-K teacher. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now lives in Philadelphia and writes poetry, fiction, and children’s literature in her spare time.