Monday, July 22, 2024

High Risk Won’t Guarantee Your Life.

December 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Health & Wellness, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( “According to the CDC, black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women’s health.”

Having a baby is a beautiful time for a woman. There is every reason to rejoice about the little life growing on the inside of you. However, as a black woman there is a risk we are told we face by deciding to have children. The above mention statistic is one that can make us over cautious, or it can lead us to continue to believe we must seek extreme measures in order to get adequate prenatal care. Granted we must acknowledge some sisters, for various reasons, are not able to seek prenatal treatment early. We must help each other navigate through this process. Furthermore, we must be mindful of high blood pressure, diabetes, and actually eating healthy. As black women in America stress is everywhere, and no one regardless of status or education is excluded. While pregnant we must find ways to lower our stress through diet while minimizing the negativity around us. For all of these purposes we need our village and support system in place.

We must understand racism more than our actual race causes problems in pregnancy. Black women are often judged by how they look, background, or even if they are married. Too many sisters explain different problems they are experiencing only to find the doctor doesn’t take them seriously. In this area it is clear that a white woman’s life is much more valuable than that of a black woman. Sometimes all of these factors can lead us to believe if our pregnancy is labeled high risk we will receive more attentive prenatal care. We think this would cause the obstetrician to pay more attention to our health in postpartum care. The label high risk is given when the mother is facing certain complications that need monitoring, or if she is over 35. Black women are becoming more aware of the mortality statistics, and it seems to make us feel we shouldn’t expect adequate care unless we are in an extreme circumstance.

The bottom line is a high-risk label will not guarantee proper care. Sometimes there is more anxiety and pressure issues created by the very idea of being deemed high risk. If you have the wrong doctor it is more of a reason for frequent testing and directives while still not having your concerns and questions addressed.  We should not have to receive a label to be treated fairly as patients. Black women deserve proper care just because they are patients, and their life is just as important as any other woman. It is important to take the time to research obstetricians and insurance the moment you find out you are pregnant. It is important to find a doctor you feel comfortable working with, and if you can involve a close family member if they child’s father is not available. It is important for the doctor to realize you are valuable to someone and you have family. If you don’t have to go to your appointments alone don’t.

It is important that black women do all that they can personally to insure they are doing what is necessary to take care of themselves. We need to eat healthy, exercise, avoid the drama, allow others to help us and take it easy while pregnant. If you have children, you can’t take for granted that the new pregnancy will be the same as the previous. Give your pregnancy the care and respect it deserves. Maybe we can’t host every family function, cook as much for the holidays or even entertain the same conversations. We must take care of ourselves to the best of our ability.

High risk is not our saving grace. The very definition of the term is not positive so why should it be something some of us are happy about? We deserve better, and so do our babies. We must come together as a community to help keep black mothers alive in every area we can. Honestly, we need more African-American obstetricians…and more that are black women is also a plus. It is also important that we come together to take care of our mothers. They give birth to the future of our people. We can’t just leave their fate to the doctors.

Staff Writer; Christian Starr

May connect with this sister over at Facebook and also Twitter

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