Black Maternal Health Project

Black Maternal Health Project Summit Program Book

Black Maternal Health Project (BMHP)

The Community Action Agency of New Haven, Inc. (CAANH), in collaboration with New Haven Healthy Start, The New Haven (CT) Chapter of the Links Incorporated, The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. New Haven Metropolitan Chapter (NCBW) came together to convene the Black Maternal Health Project (BMHP) during Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-17, 2023). As trusted messengers, BMHP unites with a shared mission to spotlight the numerous obstacles confronting Black and Brown women regarding the social determinants of health, inadequate support, limited access to essential information, and discrimination.

The Importance of Black Maternal Health

Over the last two decades, maternal mortality rates have declined around the world, but in the U.S., more than 700 women die each year as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications. This is a 50% increase over the same period. And the data is worse for women of color.

Pregnancy-related mortality varies significantly by race, with 13 deaths per 100,000 births by white women and 42.8 deaths per 100,000 births by Black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (Hartford Health Care, 2023)

According to a report by ABC News, the unexpected death of U.S. Olympic sprinter Tori Bowie is shedding light on a pregnancy complication that disproportionately impacts Black women. As a Black woman, Tori Bowie was among the population most affected by pre-eclampsia. These shocking statistics emphasize the urgent need for better access to quality maternal healthcare services for Black women in New Haven and around the country. Maternal mortality rates in the United States are already alarmingly high, and it is essential that steps are taken to address these disparities and ensure that all women, regardless of race, receive the care they deserve. (ABC News, 2023)

The Importance of Black Maternal Health in Connecticut

In New Haven, there are major disparities in infant mortality rates by race (DataHaven, 2023). The New Haven infant mortality rate for Black babies is 11.3 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to 4.0 for white babies. New Haven babies are also more likely to have a low birth weight compared to the Connecticut average (9.0 percent vs. 7.8 percent). There are also significant racial disparities in birth weight in New Haven – low birth weights are 1.7 times more likely for Black babies than white babies (11.2 percent compared to 6.6 percent) (DataHaven, 2023). We need to do more to protect the lives and well-being of infants and mothers. Adopting best practice models can serve as a pathway to supporting maternal health. (City of New Haven Health Department, 2023)

It is essential for the local government, healthcare providers, and communities to work together to improve access to quality maternal healthcare services for Black and brown women in New Haven. Additionally, resources and support should be provided to encourage and facilitate breastfeeding among Black mothers. By prioritizing the needs of Black and Brown mothers in Connecticut, we can work towards achieving better maternal and infant health outcomes, creating a healthier and more equitable community for all. (Connecticut Health Foundation, 2024)

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