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How Racism Affects Health Outcomes For Pregnant Black Women And Their Babies

Darynee Blount is shown at work in this undated photo.

Credit: Darynee Blount

Above: Darynee Blount is shown at work in this undated photo.

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Wednesday, KPBS Midday Edition brings you a special program on Black maternal health with more personal stories from Black mothers, insights into how racism is baked into medical school education ... Read more →

Aired: February 23, 2021 | Transcript

For Black women who are expecting a baby, pregnancy can be filled with the anxiety of knowing you will have to navigate a health care system plagued by racism. That racism affects the quality of medical care Black women and infants receive.

According to the most recent data from the California Department of Public Health, Black infants in California are three times more likely to die and 60% more likely to be born prematurely than white infants. Black mothers are three times more likely to die due to pregnancy or delivery complications than white mothers.

RELATED: San Diego County Launches ‘Black Legacy Now’ To Address Racism In Maternal, Newborn Health Care

Darynee Blount is a certified professional midwife who owns Birth Roots Women’s Health and Maternity Center. They recently partnered with Project Concern International’s Healthy Start program to address the disparities pregnant Black women face. It was her own traumatic birthing experience that led her to do this work.

After becoming a midwife, Blount said that when she attended the births of Black women she noticed similar things to what she experienced while giving birth.

"I noticed that when I was attending the birth of a white woman that (medical staff) were more likely to explain all the procedures, give them options, that they were more amenable to letting more people in the room and support them," Blount said. "Whereas there was more of this blanket approach coverage of 'this is what we do in the hospital' when it was anyone who was not white."

Blount joined Midday Edition on Tuesday to share her story.

On Wednesday, KPBS Midday Edition will air a special one-hour program about the experiences Black women are having during their pregnancies and delivery of their babies here in San Diego as well as available resources and what’s being done to racial inequities the healthcare system.

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