Childbirth Can Make You Nervous, But There’s Hope...



This blog post is sponsored by Blue Cross BlueShield Association, but all opinions are my own.


As a mom of two boys, most people probably thought what was most on my mind during pregnancy was the sex of the new baby. However, as a two-time c-section (the 1st of which I believe was avoidable) mom, what’s been on my mind most (aside from staying healthy and not getting sick) are my pregnancy and childbirth decisions, and what birth will ultimately be like. 

Have I chosen the right practice/doctors? Will a third c-section be especially risky? What can I do to be healthy this pregnancy? Will my birth be safe? 

I actually thought about those things even before I got pregnant. To others who’ve never been pregnant, it might seem premature to have been thinking about birth before even conception, but it's worth thinking about because birth is such a monumental experience for both moms and babies. Birth makes me nervous...It is what’s made me most nervous each pregnancy, and with reason.

 

According to a recent study by Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), "Racial Disparities in Maternal Health,pregnant women in the U.S. are more than twice as likely to die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth than those in most other high-income countries in the world. 

 

There are wide disparities among those who experience childbirth complications: Across all age groups, women in majority Black and Hispanic communities were more likely to have higher severe maternal morbidity (SMM) rates compared to women in majority white communities. Black and Hispanic women have 63% and 32%, respectively, higher rates of SMM than white women.



The BCBSA study found that racial disparities in SMM are especially pronounced for women in majority Black communities. The SMM rate for women younger than 35 in majority Black communities is still higher than the SMM rate for women 35 and older (and, therefore, considered higher risk) women in majority white communities.

 

Compared with white mothers, mothers of color missed more prenatal appointments, mainly due to transportation costs or scheduling conflicts. Mothers of color were also less likely to feel their doctors spent enough time with them. Black mothers were the least confident, when compared to Hispanic and white mothers, that they received or would receive the prenatal care they deserved, and that they could speak openly about their pregnancy with their provider.

 

To combat these racial disparities in our country’s maternal health care, BCBSA's National Health Equity Strategy and local Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are doing the following:

  • Collecting data to measure disparities
  • Scaling effective programs for mothers of color
  • Working with providers to improve outcomes and address unconscious bias
  • Leaning into partnerships at the community level
  • Influencing policy decisions at the state and federal levels
  • Improving postpartum care, particularly for high-risk moms
  • Delivering groceries to food-insecure households 


And that’s just a few of the efforts taking place. I appreciate these efforts and their goal to reduce racial disparities in maternal health by 50% in the next five years

 

Like all other moms, the health and safety of myself and my baby are what matter most. Ultimately, no matter the birth I experience (though I always wished for a vaginal birth I am scheduled for a third c-section), all I want is for me and my baby to be safe. 





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