During the early 1900s, Black women midwives cared for pregnant and birthing women in their communities; however, they were soon stigmatized and replaced by white medical doctors. Today’s worsening Black maternal and infant mortality rates bring this shift into question. What can we learn from the Black midwives of today? Is a return to Black midwives part of the solution to today’s rising rates of Black maternal and infant mortality?
“For Black and brown mothers who I think have tons of fear around childbirth, I want them to know you can still have a healthy, normal birth. Not to say that the risks aren’t there, but don’t let the fear paralyze you or rob you of what is intended to be a joyful experience.”
Note: For more on the history of midwifery in the US, see https://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/health-info/history-of-midwifery/.