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Revolutionizing Black Maternal Health Through Policy: Inside the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act




Health Inequities Among Black Women

In the United States, Black women are continuously being disproportionately affected by health inequities, racial disparities and health issues (Walton). One issue of concern is the alarmingly high rates of maternal deaths experienced by Black women compared to their counterparts. 


Black women continue to experience racial discrimination with regard to obtaining quality care for themselves and their children. 

In fact, according to Black Mamas Matter Alliance and Center for Reproductive Rights,  Black women are three to four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death compared to white women.  Research has proven that for Black women, disproportional pregnancy-related deaths occur even after factoring for income and/or education level. 


In addition,  Black women are also more likely to experience maternal health complications during their pregnancy compared to white women.  Those health conditions include chronic diseases (e.g. hypertension or diabetes), fibroids, preeclampsia, and weathering which is the result of chronic exposure to social and economic disadvantages.  These conditions can lead to higher rates of preterm births, low birth weights, and maternal mortality (nationalpartnership.org).  One way to positively improve Black mothers' birthing experience is to implement policies addressing the root causes of health inequities.


Policies to Improve Maternal Health Outcomes 

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2023 (previously 2020) was created to fill the gaps in legislation (Black Maternal Health Caucus).  It aims to decelerate the Black maternal health crisis in America.  


The act comprises thirteen bills addressing social determinants of health, maternal mental health care, maternal vaccinations, extending WIC eligibility in postpartum and breastfeeding periods, community based initiative, support for incarcerated women, digital tools to improve maternal health and funding for program to improve maternal health care for veterans (Momnibus Act of 2020 and March of Dimes).

These thirteen individual bills are crucial because they ensure the government’s financial investment in digital tools to improve  maternal health outcomes in underserved areas, as well as in improved transportation, nutrition and housing, which are factors that also influence maternal health outcomes.  Moreover, the bills will provide funding to community based organizations that  are focused on improving maternal health outcomes and promote innovative payment models that will help achieve higher quality maternity care and continue health insurance coverage (Momnibus Act of 2020)


The Black Maternal Health Momnibus led by Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, Lauren Underwood, and Senator Cory Booker is crucial to Black women because the act supports organizations dedicated to improving maternal health for Black women.  It also provides a proactive approach to addressing maternal health issues plaguing Black women (Momnibus Act of 2020).        


Black maternal health is important because Black women are dying at alarming rates.  Structural racism plays a major role in these health disparities, and it is essential not only to acknowledge this fact but also to actively support the causes and policies asking for change (Solomon, 2021).  It is imperative that Black women, their families, physicians ,and policymakers work together to combat this life-or-death health issue. 


Black women need and deserve care that is patient centered, respectful, and most importantly, safe. 

This can be achieved by hospitals and other healthcare facilities supporting and participating in initiatives that promote the safety and well-being of Black mothers as well as their children (nationalpartnership.org). 


What can you do to support the Black Maternal Health Momnibus?

Support your local and national Black maternal health organizations by donating your time and knowledge to their causes.  


To learn more, visit our Mamas 4 Life health education campaign webpage.


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About the author:  Tierra Prewitt is from Tucson, Arizona, but has resided in Atlanta, GA, since 2017.  She is a mother to two beautiful girls, ages 9 and 12, who keep her busy.  Her undergraduate degree is in journalism and psychology, and she is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Health with an anticipated graduation date in 2024.  Tierra currently works as a grants review coordinator but would like to pursue a future career in maternal health.

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