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September 2023

Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby: Tips for Black Mothers

Every year in the U.S., 50,000 people have something unexpected happen during labor that causes a serious health problem. For Black women, pregnancy is more dangerous. In fact, Black women are 3 times more likely than white women to die of a cause related to being pregnant.

What’s responsible for this gap? Some of the factors include:

  • Lack of access to high-quality healthcare

  • Underlying chronic conditions

  • Structural racism

It will take changes at the societal level to make pregnancy safer. Still, there are some things you can do as an individual to stay healthy during and after pregnancy. 

During pregnancy

Pregnancy can come with risks to your health. Take care of yourself with these tips:

  • Get prenatal care as soon as you know you’re pregnant. Go to all the scheduled appointments. This helps your healthcare provider spot any problems early, when they’re easier to treat.

  • Know the urgent maternal warning signs. These are symptoms you should have checked out immediately. Some of these include trouble breathing, a severe headache, extreme swelling in your hands or face, or heavy bleeding.

  • Talk with your provider before you stop or start taking any medicines.

  • Attend a childbirth class to understand what you can expect during labor.

If something doesn’t feel right, tell your provider. Don’t be afraid to speak up until your concerns are heard.

After pregnancy

Once the baby is delivered, your pregnancy may be over, but that doesn’t mean you should stop monitoring your health. More than half of pregnancy-related deaths happen after childbirth. To stay healthy, do the following:

  • Continue getting medical care. Postpartum visits are important and shouldn’t be a one-time thing.

  • For a year after delivery, share your pregnancy history with any healthcare providers you visit.

  • Keep tabs on your mental health. It’s normal to struggle after having a baby. If this applies to you, seek help from your provider. They can connect you with a mental health professional.

  • Nourish your body. This includes eating nutritious foods, making time to sleep, and finding ways to move. Your provider will let you know when you can begin exercising again.





Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley BSN, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2022
© 2000-2024 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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