Care for Black Mamas: Honoring Black Maternal Health Week

Care for Black Mamas: Honoring Black Maternal Health Week


It’s Black Maternal Health Week, and as a Betterness and wellness community that advocates for, with, and to the holistic wellness for Black women, this critical wellness topic is something that we could not allow to go unaddressed. If you know anything about us, we don’t play about Black women around here, and for those that choose to experience motherhood through physical births, we reserve a special lane of support, ensuring that they are heard, seen, and cared for throughout their journeys to and through motherhood.

The challenges and complexities around maternal, sexual and reproductive health can be layered and complex, but to get you up to speed, here’s what you need to know, specific to Black mamas:

  • In 2021, the maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black women was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.6 times the rate for non-Hispanic White women. (Source: CDC).
  • In the U.S., Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than White women. CDC notes that more than 80% of pregnancy related deaths are preventable. (Source: CDC)
  • Differences can be observed in how common depressive symptoms are right after giving birth. One study found that Black women were two times more likely to report suicidal ideation in the immediate postpartum period, in comparison to their White counterparts in the study. Identifying suicidal ideation through screening and supporting mothers and birthing people for suicidal ideation in the immediate postpartum period can potentially reduce maternal deaths.
  • In the United States, 29–44% of Black women experience postpartum depressive symptoms (PDS), yet few are properly identified and/or connected to mental care services. (Source: NIH)

We know these statistics are alarming, and our aim is to bring awareness to the facts to encourage our community of current and prospective mothers to seek and create the right support and medical community for them and their babies.

While we’re not medical professionals,  we do know the power of community to create safety and support. That’s our aim here--to ensure that Black mamas are caring for themselves and designing a community of support that attends to their wellness needs. Is that always easy? No. Circumstances around pregnancies vary so deeply -- we get that. However, there are ways for you to develop a care team, no matter where you are in life. Think about identifying who will serve in these roles
Medical team (doctor, nurses, midwife)

  • Birthing support (doula,birth partner)
  • Extended care team (friends and family that help your transition from birth to daily routine)
  • Work support/colleagues - work teams that support your maternity experience by offering adequate time off 
  • Online communities and local support groups

Our resident Betterness mama, co-founder and health advocate Denise, can attest to this. As a recent mother, Denise navigated her pregnancy with the support of her birthing tribe:

The birth experience is life-changing on its own, but it doesn’t end there. Carrying, birthing and raising my son has required so much more support than I could have ever imagined. I’m beyond grateful for my tribe that made the process more manageable. I know that the circumstances surrounding each mother’s experience are vastly different, but I will say, choosing to be open to receiving and vocal about needing help and support was honestly the best decision I could make through it all.

The stats and stories can be alarming, and we won’t take away from that. Our bigger and, BETTER hope though, is that the beauty of child bearing becomes a safer, more celebrated space for the miraculous journey that it truly is. 

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