Inequality is rampant throughout the health care system: Women of color are more likely to die of breast cancer, heart disease, and COVID-19, and more likely to report chronic, severe anxiety. There are many reasons—gaps in biomedical research, deliberate discrimination and racism, lack of resources, lack of empathy—all of which come to a head when a Black woman gets pregnant. Black women in the United States are three to five times more likely to die from pregnancy or postpartum issues than white women, a maternal mortality crisis that cannot be ignored. In Glamour’s Black Maternal Health series, we’re sharing these stories—and solutions.
Freedom Smith was scared to scream during childbirth. She was a 21-year-old single mother-to-be with no insurance, no family support, and no stable prenatal care, and the words of the staff in the maternity ward had weighed heavily on her mind. “I had a