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The Importance of Black Birthkeepers

by Mars Lord, Doula, Birth Activist, Educator
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 R-CERP
  • Handout: Yes

The results of the MBRRACE report 2018, a UK study into maternal deaths made me want to look beyond the statistics and see what, if anything, could be done to close the disparities gap. Much of my knowledge has been gained via personal stories, blog posts, articles, news reports and reading research about black maternal deaths, as well as from the MBRRACE study itself.

Looking into the statistics caused me to want to know if they were specific to the UK and the West and if so, why? By discovering that the outcomes for black women were better on the African continent, I began to read about the differences in lifestyles to see if that made a difference. Acknowledging systemic and structural racism brought many issues to light. From this I was able to hypothesise that implicit and explicit bias are significant factors in the poor outcomes. The inevitable conclusion to this, in my mind, was the need for people to be supported by those who would work without, or with a minimum level of bias ergo black women being supported by black women.

There needs to be a more holistic approach to the care of black women, so that non black birthkeepers are also able to give good, safe support.

Learning Objectives:

Objective 1: Describe what black women may encounter with health care professionals within the perinatal period, and why black birthkeepers may be preferred

Objective 2: Apply further self-study and research into the maternal morbidity disparities.

Objective 3: Use strategies to confront implicit and explicit bias within their own practice and in the system around them.