The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among developed nations, and this disparity is even more pronounced for women of color.

Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. Similarly, Indigenous women are also at a higher risk of maternal death. Maternal health disparities in America refer to the unequal and unjust differences in maternal health outcomes experienced by women of color and low-income women compared to their white, higher-income counterparts.

Low-income women also face significant barriers to accessing quality maternal health care. Many lack insurance coverage or live in areas with limited healthcare options, which can make it difficult to receive the care they need. Additionally, discrimination and bias within the healthcare system can further exacerbate these disparities.

The reasons behind these disparities include structural racism, lack of access to healthcare, and economic inequality. To address these disparities, it is important to ensure that all women have access to quality maternal health care, regardless of their race or income level. This may include expanding Medicaid coverage for low-income women, increasing funding for community health clinics, and implementing policies to address racial and ethnic health disparities.

Moreover, it is important to address the underlying social determinants that impact maternal health, such as poverty, lack of education, and lack of access to housing, transportation and healthy food.

It is also important to recognize that maternal health is not just about physical health, but also emotional well-being and addressing the social and cultural factors that affect maternal health outcomes.

Kaci Smith, LMFT

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About the Author: Kaci Smith
I’ve been working as a therapist and clinical supervisor, serving clients of all ages and backgrounds, and supporting dozens of aspiring therapists with their own professional journeys, for over a decade now. After the birth of my first child in 2020, I became increasingly more passionate about working with mothers and women. I created Women’s Therapy California to offer quality, affordable, and flexible online drop-in group therapy services for women across California.

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