Confronting Racial Disparity in Pregnancy & Infant Loss

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by Lindsey J. Wimmer, RN, MSN, CPNP, CPLC – Executive Director

One of the most concerning statistics around stillbirth and infant death is the racial disparity.  African American and Native American stillbirth rates are double the rates of other groups.  Star Legacy recently published the US Stillbirth Scorecard that highlighted this issue.  Racial disparity has been widely reported for many health issues and even for stillbirth and infant death in other places.  So this is not a new finding.  But it is still a problem.  We know (or have theories about) some of the causes, but not all.  And finding solutions has proven to be even more challenging. 

The Pregnancy Research Project was created to look at many aspects of pregnancy health including the issue of disparity.  I am hopeful it will provide valuable information about the lived experience of women who deal with these concerns every day, and certainly through their pregnancies.  A recent video produced by Refinery 29 does a beautiful job of giving voice to families who have felt racism impact their healthcare. (See video below) Stillbirth comes with so many questions in any situation – but the question of how your skin color affected your baby’s life should not be one of them. 

I don’t have the answers, but Star Legacy is working hard to find the ‘why’ and help create solutions.  Racism in its many forms needs to be a part of this discussion. 

I encourage all women to share their pregnancy experiences with us through the Pregnancy Research Project– but especially women from minority communities.  Your story could help us identify how to improve health equity for all future families.  We can all be part of the solutions if we’re willing to participate in the discussion. 

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