Celebrating & Centering Black Birthing Parents

Happy Black Maternal Health Week! The Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA) founded this awareness week in 2017, and last year the White House officially dedicated the second full week of April to Black maternal health. It an opportunity to engage in conversation about Black maternal health in the US and center the voices of Black birthing parents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Black birthing parents are three to five times more likely to have a pregnancy related death than white birthing parents in the United States. Black birthing parents are also more likely to suffer from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) like postpartum depression without clinical help.

Obstetrics and Gynecology at Howard Brown Health is working to address those disparities. Our care model includes support and health education through case management, and we’re excited to share our collaboration with Chicago Volunteer Doulas and the upcoming CenteringPregnancy® group.

We have also partnered with the Chicago Volunteer Doulas to ensure that every pregnant patient has access to full spectrum doula care during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum. Studies show that doula-assisted birthing parents are four times less likely to have babies with a low birth weight, two times less likely to experience a birth complication involving themselves or their baby, and are significantly more likely to initiate chestfeeding.

At Howard Brown Health 63rd Street in Englewood, we are excited to start CenteringPregnancy® at the end of April 2022. CenteringPregnancy® is patient-centered group care that increases patient engagement, learning, and self-confidence. This model of care has been shown to decrease the overall rate of preterm and low weight babies, increase chestfeeding rates and lead to better pregnancy spacing. More significantly, it has been proven to nearly eliminate racial disparities in preterm birth.

You can learn more about Black maternal health at the sources below. To get involved in the week’s national festivities, follow the hashtags #BMHW22 #BlackMamasMatter #BlackMaternalHealthWeek and #ReproJustice on social media and visit www.blackmamasmatter.org.

For more information on getting into care or Obstetrics and Gynecology initiatives to support Black maternal health, reach out to Prenatal Case Manager, Rachel Thomas, at rachelt@howardbrown.org.


“Preventing Pregnancy-Related Deaths”, CDC – September 20, 2021

“Infographic: Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Deaths — United States, 2007–2016”, CDC – February 4, 2020.

“Black Maternal Health Week”, Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA)

“Racial Disparities Persist in Maternal Morbidity, Mortality and Infant Health”, Gianna Melillo for The American Journal of Managed Care – June 13, 2020

“Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Postpartum Depression Care Among Low-Income Women” Katy Backes Kozhimannil, Ph.D., M.P.A., Connie Mah Trinacty, Ph.D., Alisa B. Busch, M.D., M.S., Haiden A. Huskamp, Ph.D., and Alyce S. Adams, Ph.D. – August 5, 2013


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