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Who We Are
California Families for Access to Midwives includes mothers, fathers, families and their communities who advocate safe, affordable and healthy birth options. CFAM is working to improve the health of mothers and babies by increasing access to midwifery care.
Systematic Racism in Maternity Care; Educate Yourself and Be Part of the Solution.
April 27, 2017
At CFAM we recognize the harm that systematic racism plays in health outcomes for black mothers and babies. We believe that midwifery care can be part of the solution to devastatingly high rates of infant and maternal mortality in African-American communities. But in order for midwifery care to work for black families, we need more white midwives to explore, accept and change their own implicit racial bias. We need more black midwives trained and available to serve black families.
Black women die in childbirth at a rate 4 times higher than white women. Black women are not to be blamed for these devastating rates. Evidence shows that regardless of a black woman's age, level of education, diet or socio-economic status she still has a greater chance of dying in childbirth than a white women. Research is starting to show that stress due to racism, bias and discrimination have lasting and detrimental effects on black women’s reproductive health, pregnancies and long term health. Black women are not dying at higher rates because they don't go to church, all live in poverty or have poor diets. If we truly want to place the blame anywhere, we should look at our health care system and the institutional racism that exists within it. We should take a look at our healthcare providers and how we treat women of color. And within the midwifery community, we must make it our business to do what we can to support birth workers of color, increase the reach of midwifery to communities who can benefit the most and create more midwives that represent and come from communities of color.
This is not a time to turn a blind eye, dismiss or ignore what is happening to black women and their babies. The time is now to openly and honestly discuss the impacts of racial discrimination on maternal care. We must look at and identify the social constructs that affect the health of black women over the course of their lifetime.We must start seeing and listening to black women when they tell of their experiences and treatment. We at CFAM believe if more families had access to midwifery care that it could make the difference. We know the midwifery model of care can provide respectful, high quality care. But we must be willing to check our own bias, acknowledge what we don't know and educate ourselves in order to do the important work of providing care to the families we serve.
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