The Morning Culture Talks Maternal Mortality Among Black Women

243% more likely to die delivering children

May 1, 2019

On Thursday, April 25, Frank Ski, Jade Novah and JR of The Morning Culture had a conversation about marternal mortality, a topic that's currently being discussed more often, unfortunately due to how many black mothers are losing their lives -- or coming uncomfortably close -- during or after delivering children. To help add context to the discussion, they invited Dr. Fatu Forna, an OBGYN, international child health expert and a fellow at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention here in Atlanta. Also present for the conversation was Charles Johnson, advocate for maternal health care and founder of the nonprofit organization 4Kira4Moms. Johnson's wife Kira died three years ago, after giving birth to their son Langston via scheduled Ceasarian section.

According to a 1999 study by the American Medical Association (cited by the U.S. National Library of Medicine), black women are 2 to 6 times more likely to die from complications of pregnancy in the United States than white women, depending on where they live. Or, as stated in a 2017 NPR story, "a black woman is 22 percent more likely to die from heart disease than a white woman, 71 percent more likely to perish from cervical cancer, but 243 percent more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes."

Fortunately, through the tireless lobbying of Johnson (whose mother, Judge Glenda Hatchett, is a prominent television personality), things are beginning to change. In December 2018, Congress unanimously passed the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, authorizing $60 million over the next five years to prevent maternal mortality in the U.S., funding nationwide maternal health review committees and collecting data in all 50 states to find out what is behind so many tragic post-delivery maternal deaths. Still, there's a lot more conversation that needs to happen, and more information needs to be shared in order to spread awareness of this deadly crisis.

Watch the informative conversation above or at V-103's YouTube channel.