Racism and Sexism Underlie Higher Maternal Death Rates for Black Women, U.N. Says

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Title: the Deep-rooted Inequalities Behind Disproportionate Maternal Death Rates for Black Women: A Call for Action


The challenging reality of racial disparities in healthcare and its impact on maternal mortality rates has recently come under scrutiny by the United Nations. In its report, the UN emphasizes how racism and sexism are at the heart of higher maternal death rates experienced by black women. this article aims to shed light on this issue, explore the underlying factors responsible for these inequalities, and emphasize the urgent need for systemic changes to ensure equitable healthcare for all.

Addressing Perplexity in Maternal Mortality

When considering the perplexity surrounding the higher maternal death rates among black women, it becomes crucial to delve into the factors that contribute to this alarming trend. Despite advances in medical technology and overall improvements in healthcare, black women face disproportionately higher risks during pregnancy and childbirth. A perplexing question emerges – why are black women experiencing such adverse outcomes compared to their white counterparts?

Unmasking the Barriers: Racism and Sexism

Unveiling the underlying factors, racism and sexism are deeply embedded in our societal structures, perpetuating inequalities at numerous levels. Black women face a myriad of challenges throughout their journey into motherhood which, when combined, create a profound disparity in the quality of care they receive.

Firstly, implicit biases held by healthcare providers can adversely affect the care given to black women. These biases can manifest in the form of dismissive attitudes, inadequate pain management, and a diminished level of engagement and empathy. Furthermore, the historical legacy of mistreatment and medical exploitation experienced by African Americans amplifies mistrust, leading to delayed or inadequate care-seeking behavior by black women.

Spatial segregation and socioeconomic disadvantage also contribute significantly to the perplexing reality of higher maternal death rates among black women. Many black women find themselves residing in neighborhoods with limited access to quality healthcare facilities. This lack of proximity prevents timely access to prenatal care, increasing the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

Effects of Burstiness on Maternal Health Outcomes

The burstiness surrounding the maternal health outcomes of black women necessitates a closer examination of the unpredictable nature of these disparities. Burstiness refers to the sporadic episodes and intensity of adverse outcomes that black women face during pregnancy and childbirth.

One influential factor contributing to burstiness is the higher prevalence of pre-existing health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity within the black population. These conditions heighten the risks associated with pregnancy, making the process more complex and demanding.

Moreover, the stressors induced by racism and discrimination put black women’s bodies under increased physiological strain, leading to adverse health outcomes. Stress-related conditions such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes are more prevalent among black women, further impacting maternal health.

Taking Action: A Call to Empowerment

To effectively eradicate the underlying causes of the perplexing and bursty nature of maternal death rates among black women, comprehensive strategies must be implemented.

A key approach is the cultivation of cultural competency within the healthcare system. Ensuring that healthcare providers receive training on implicit biases, cultural sensitivity, and historical trauma can significantly reduce disparities faced by black women during pregnancy and childbirth.

Additionally, addressing the structural inequalities that hinder access to healthcare is paramount. Expanding the availability of quality healthcare facilities in underserved minority communities would mitigate the barrier of spatial segregation and ensure equitable access to prenatal care.

Moreover, promoting community-based initiatives that advocate for reproductive justice, inclusivity, and empowerment will collectively address racial and socioeconomic factors that contribute to burstiness in maternal health outcomes.


In conclusion, racism and sexism lie at the core of the higher maternal death rates experienced by black women. Perplexity arises as we confront the intricate web of factors such as implicit biases, spatial segregation, and socio-economic inequality that perpetuate this disparity. Burstiness, resulting from pre-existing health conditions and the physiological toll of racism, compounds the adverse outcomes faced by black women during pregnancy and childbirth. To rectify this injustice, it is imperative to address these root causes through interventions that prioritize cultural competency, equitable access to healthcare, and community empowerment. By doing so, we pave the path towards ensuring safe, respectful, and equitable maternal care for all women, regardless of their race or background.