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African American women are more likely to die during pregnancy

Maternal death rate said to exceed that in Sub-Sahara

William Covington OW Contributor | 5/4/2018, midnight
According to Dr. Cassandra Dixon, professor emeritus at University of Michigan Medical School,..

According to Dr. Cassandra Dixon, professor emeritus at University of Michigan Medical School,

African American women are four times more likely to die during pregnancy, childbirth, and the year immediately following, than White women.

This is despite the fact that America reportedly spends $111 billion a year—more than than any other country—on maternal health care. Yet in some regions of Mississippi, the maternal death rate for Black women exceeds that of some Sub-Saharan Africa, while the rate for White women in that state barely rates a mention. Dixon believes those statistics are the reason most physicians are quick to perform cesarean section surgery births when the expectant mother is Black.

“In addition to maternal deaths, the infant mortality rate for African American babies is more than double that of white infants,” Dixon said.

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), college-educated Black women have birth outcomes that are worse than White women who haven’t finished high school.

Evelyn Kincaid, a medical statistician for the CDC, said medical researchers believe increased use of procedures on pregnant Black women to manage labor and delivery (e.g. labor inducing methods) could be the problem. Other researchers point to racism and stress that Black women are exposed to on a daily basis causing anxiety and the release of stress hormones that can trigger premature labor. Obesity could play a factor, lack of education, lack of access to quality health care services, and physician practice patterns. Not to mention some physicians may do a c-section to accommodate their vacation schedule.

Another issue Kincaid believes may be in the hair products. She referred to a five-year study that identified several Black hair products that contain toxic and possibly dangerous chemicals. “Those products could cause  Black women have rates of infant death 2.2 times higher than white women,” she explained.

Stress, racism could play role

Both Dixon and Kincaid agree that Black women have the highest cesarean rate of any other group, putting them at a higher risk of infection, hysterectomy, hemorrhaging, lower breastfeeding rates, longer post pregnancy healing time, more future C-sections, and even death.

There is a history of C-sections performed on the indigenous women of Africa. Traced to 1870, research has revealed that the women is administered a natural anesthetic developed from local medicinal plants. The exact process of cutting open the abdomen and moving into the uterus with a very sharp instrument involving one pass of the instrument to get to the child. The child is then removed from the womb and a midwife applies pressure to the abdomen to control blood flow and allow removal of the placenta. Sutures are applied to the outside of the abdomen.  An all-natural surgical topical solution is applied to the surface of the abdomen. The patient is then placed on her stomach (the repositioning of the patient reported allowed her body weight to assist in the draining process). With in two weeks, the wound was healed and the patient was released.