According to an Amnesty International report, two maternal deaths occur every day for African-American women. The British-based human rights organization found that a leading cause to these deaths is unequal access to health services. Strangely, there is little academic literature to prepare Black mothers for childbirth, which is also being cited as a factor. "Many [women] are in the public health care system," said Shafia Monroe, CEO of the International Center for Traditional Childbirth (ICTC). "[And] they don't have access to or support to take birthing classes or maintain breastfeeding. They often give birth alone with no support besides hospital staff. And, some expressed fear during their time in the hospital based on their treatment." The ICTC's mission is to increase the number of midwives, doulas, and healers of color, and to empower families in order to reduce maternal and infant mortality.
Although 99 percent of birth-related deaths happen in developing countries, these numbers for African American women— in a country with world-renowned health facilities— are discouraging. The Center for Disease Control plans to conduct more research into the ethnic disparity in hopes of coming up with preventative solutions. Listing "nutrition, healthy lifestyle, and control of chronic medical conditions" before pregnancy as ways to ensure safe motherhood, one would hope that the CDC considers the specific social and economic pressures minority groups endure that factor into child bearing.
Who should lead the charge in determining a solution? Also, should Black women continue to teach one another preventative techniques or should this stay in the hands of the medical community?