birth equity (noun):
1. The assurance of the conditions of optimal births for all people with a willingness to address racial and social inequities in a sustained effort. (Birthequity.org)
Birth inequities are compounded by well-documented racism in perinatal and maternal health among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Right now, we must address issues facing Black, Indigenous, and People of Color as health care professionals, birth workers, and advocates to draw awareness to the inequities and disparities that exist today. "Racism, not race itself, is the driving force behind disparately high rates of maternal and infant deaths among African Americans, and the systemic barriers are fueled by both explicit and implicit bias." (Taylor. J,Novoa.C,Hamm. K, and Phadke,S.)
Recent key finding's from The 2019 Edition — Maternity Care in California: A Bundle of data identifies current racial/ethnic disparities.
One in four in-hospital births in California were low-risk, first-birth cesareans (c-sections). Rates for Black women were six percentage points higher than the Healthy People 2020 goal (23.9%) while rates for Latina and white women met this goal.
While the national maternal mortality rate has increased, California has made significant progress in reducing maternal mortality rates overall, and for all race/ethnicity and age groups. However, Black women continued to have significantly higher maternal mortality rates than other groups.
Significant racial/ethnic disparities existed across a variety of maternal quality measures in California, including prenatal visits, preterm births, and maternal and infant mortality rates. For many of these measures, Black women and infants fared worse than their peers in other racial/ethnic groups.
Achieving health equity - where every person has a fair and just opportunity to be healthier-must be the priority. Getting to this goal requires removing barriers to care such as poverty, discrimination, racism, sexism, and other societal ills. (Taylor. J,Novoa.C,Hamm. K, and Phadke,S.)
Our core values shape our organization to strive for eliminating and reducing barriers to perinatal and maternal healthcare while valuing diversity and inclusion of our members and community to elevate BIPOC lived experiences and voices. At CCCN, we are:
Committed supporting our community by increasing access to resources and upholding the Rights of Childbearing people.
Collaborate with individuals, businesses, and organizations who are elevating the work and voices for equitable birth, family planning and building.
Continuously learning through immersing in our community needs, education, and examining our own implicit biases.
Nurturing of self and others. When we can grow, learn, and heal within, we can begin to care for others unconditionally with compassion, respect, empathy, and understanding.
Below is not an exclusive list. However, these are helpful resources to continue the work to inform, educate, and advocate for safe, respectful, and equitable birth for all. There isn't a one-fit solution. There is work to be done in education, funding, policies, and investing in community programs that can begin to bring about change. Together, we can be the change for equitable health outcomes, while recognizing that BIPOC inequities remain a health crisis in the United States.
We encourage our community to:
Listen. Amplify voices of BIPOC by highlighting their stories on social media.
Create safe and authentic space to engage in conversations around racism, implicit/explicit biases, and trauma-informed care.
Elevate your voice through phone calls, emails, petitions, and media.
Learn more about our Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
Share your ideas and let CCCN know what we can do to support BIPOC.
We hear you. We see you. We stand with you, together.
Joynt, J. The 2019 Edition — Maternity Care in California: A Bundle of data. California Healthcare Foundation. https://www.chcf.org/publication/2019-edition-maternity-care-in-california
Please feel free to comment and let us know if these resources are helpful and what resources you think should be added.
Articles about Health Inequities in the U.S.
History of African American Physicians and Medicine: https://www.ama-assn.org/sites/ama-assn.org/files/corp/media-browser/public/ama-history/african-american-physicians3-v2.pdf
Resources in California:
Documentary: The Loudest Silence
Organizations & busniesses:
Advocacy Organizations for policy change:
Books to read for Birth Professionals:
Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology, Deirdre Cooper Owens
Impact of racism and oppression on birth outcomes, Aromidwifery
Anti-Racist Resources from Every Mother Counts