Continuing the conversation: Systemic racism affects the health of moms and babies

On Tuesday, June 11th March of Dimes hosted a Facebook Live event where panelists discussed systemic racism and the need for equity in maternal and infant health. As the leader in the fight for the health of all moms and babies, we know that in order to spark change we need to keep the conversation going.

Data show that the United States is one of most dangerous developed nations in the world to give birth in. Over 700 women die each year from pregnancy-related causes in this country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 60 percent of those deaths are preventable. The dangers are greater for communities of color:

  • Nationwide, Black women are 3 times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes.
  • Black babies are more than twice as likely to die before their first birthday, compared to white babies.
  • Women of color are up to 50 percent more likely to give birth prematurely.

In April we wrote about the serious disparities (differences) in how COVID-19 affects some racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. and how this is concerning for pregnant women of color especially. According to newly released information from the CDC, the risk of getting very sick is higher for pregnant women, especially Hispanic and non-Hispanic black pregnant women. The truth is that these alarming trends are deeply rooted in systemic racism. The implicit bias and stigma women of color experience in our health care system have made way for the many disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes we are seeing.

March of Dimes is committed to continuing the conversations around what must be done to achieve equity for moms and babies in our country. We stand ready to work with those who are committed to a country of healthy moms and strong babies of all races and backgrounds.

We hope you will join us on July 9th at 2PM for our next Facebook Live event titled Confronting Hard Truths: How Systemic Racism Affects Moms and Babies Part 2. It’s time for bold, immediate that will lead to real and measurable improvements in health.

To learn more about health disparities visit: