Support Fellow Moms :: National Minority Health Awareness Month


The month of April is recognized as National Minority Health Month, and April 11th-17th is Black Maternal Health Week.

Minority mental health and Black maternal mortality rates are an American crisis. One in three women of color experience postpartum depression and anxiety.

The American Journal of Accountable Care recently reported on a session at the American Diabetes Association’s 80th Scientific Sessions: “Non-Hispanic Black women are also significantly more likely to have a severe maternal morbidity (SMM) event at the time of delivery.” 

For every maternal death, there are 70 cases of SMM that are considered near misses. These cases of near misses can have long-term or short-term consequences to a woman’s health. And Black women experience SMM at a 2.2 times greater rate than that of white women. 

The rate of near misses can leave many women experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a mental disorder that can develop after a person experiences a traumatic event. We often only think of PTSD related to military veterans. But traumatic childbirth can lead to PTSD. However, not everyone who undergoes trauma is diagnosed with PTSD, and PTSD is treatable. 

My Story and My Advice

I was diagnosed with PTSD after having a traumatic experience with my first child. I was in disbelief and so was my family. Looking back on my experience of being placed in a rehab facility to treat my anxiety and depression–which led me to feel worse–took a significant toll on my mental health.

National Minority Health Awareness, Black Maternal Health Week, Postpartum, and PTSD

I now have a few tips that will save both doctor and patient from experiencing such a horrific event. 

To better understand this health crisis of Black maternal health, practitioners should take a patient-centered approach. This practice should involve the following:

    1. Get to know your patients. A woman is most vulnerable throughout her pregnancy. 
    2. Create an environment that feels safe for patients.
    3. Screen patients for social determinants such as stress and trauma.
    4. Implement implicit bias training. This training should take place at all levels: nurses, doctors, and staff. 

National Minority Health Awareness, Black Maternal Health Week, Postpartum, and PTSD

Women, we also must advocate for ourselves by doing the following:

    1. Take control of your health. 
    2. Keep track of doctor appointments.
    3. Stay on top of yearly check-ups and routine wellness visits. 
    4. Get off of WebMD and head to a doctor. 
    5. Support other women during their pregnancy. No question is too small. 
    6. When we support each other, we provide a wealth of knowledge and resources for other women. 

Community of Motherhood

Supporters of all women: it’s time to unite in our journey of motherhood and uplift our neighbor. Motherhood is not meant to be a journey alone. It’s intended to be a community–the best “hood” out there. That means watching out for a mom who’s struggling in the pickup line as well as supporting her during the most vulnerable time: during pregnancy and the fourth trimester.