New data shows African American mothers in the United States are three times more likely to die from childbirth than their white counterparts.
According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 700 women die from post-childbirth complications in the US every year. The report, however, suggests that three of every five deaths are avoidable.
In New York City alone, black women are eight times more likely to die after giving birth, the study shows.
The US is the only developed country in the world where the rate of maternal mortality is going up and apparently the epidemic is firmly rooted in discrimination and racism.
Although experts have, for long, said that the rate is higher in poorer communities, black mothers are still more at risk than white women even if they have are educated and wealthy.
“Racism was baked into the DNA of this country and since then every policy has reflected that history, including the myth that black people don’t experience pain like white people,” Dr. Deborah Kaplan, the assistant commissioner at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, told FRANCE 24.
“[It] affects people who are going to give birth and are complaining of pain or who may have a complication that is not taken seriously because simply of the color of their skin.”
The number of incidents of doctors and nurses not listening to their patients or making assumptions based on race is increasing, Kaplan said.
Thirty-three percent of black women say that they were discriminated against in hospital or by healthcare workers, according to a survey conducted in 2017 by NPR.