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maternal care

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the disparities in maternal health, particularly concerning Black women. Despite advances in medical care, Black women are two to three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women.

Research shows that both physicians and non-physician healthcare workers displayed higher levels of implicit prejudice towards Black Americans and Arab-Muslim Americans compared to the general population. Additionally, female patients and people of color are more likely to have their symptoms dismissed.

“Among the most striking findings of the study was the prevalence of mistreatment, with shouting being the most common form. It’s disheartening to think that individuals might be ignored when making requests, a sentiment echoed in both anecdotal evidence and research,” Damien Croft, MD, MPH, US Regional Director of Medical Affairs for Maternal Health at Organon, says. “This points to a threefold delay in accessing care. Women may feel unwanted or unheard, leading to delays in seeking medical attention.”

This kind of mistreatment can cause women to become reluctant to seek care, which can have serious consequences, especially when it comes to pregnancy-related complications.

Croft uses Serena Williams’ experience as an example of the consequences of delayed care and mistreatment in healthcare.

“Despite her status, she faced delays and disregard from healthcare providers, highlighting a systemic issue. These delays can have dire consequences, especially for minority women, contributing significantly to adverse maternal outcomes,” Dr. Croft adds. 

Another critical issue is the disparities in postpartum mortality.

RELATED: 5 Organizations Working To Improve The Health Of Black Mothers

“Serena Williams’ story serves as a poignant example of the need for self-advocacy. However, it also sheds light on the often overlooked and underappreciated postpartum period,” Dr. Croft notes.

In fact, recent CDC studies have shown that a significant number of maternal deaths occur postpartum, with many happening beyond the traditional six-week postpartum period.

“This emphasizes the importance of not only focusing on pregnancy but also on the period following childbirth, up to a year out. Understanding and addressing the challenges faced by women during this time is crucial for improving maternal health outcomes,” Dr. Croft shares.

To avoid dire circumstances postpartum, Dr. Croft encourages more women to become “hyper-aware of your

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