Self-advocacy is crucial when it comes to combatting the Black maternal health crisis

I don’t want to say it because everyone has heard it, TRUE teeth power. This was made very clear last year when she teamed up with her alma mater Tomi Akitunde and her nurse/doula Ebony Harvey to do what they could to end the black maternal health crisis. .

As one of the least aware groups about pregnancy (I run a mobile hairstyling service and black hair site), understanding pregnancy and how hospitals work in America is a two-way street. I quickly realized that they were two different things, but one is important…to the other.

RELATED: Childbirth shouldn’t be a death sentence, but it’s a reality for black mothers

Overdue: A Pregnancy Guide for Us, a resource I created for black motherhood with the help of Gerber, does just that.

During the months we spent developing “Expired,” the clinical protocols used in hospitals were constantly being talked about during our weekly Zoom meetings. Hospitals typically diagnose and treat patients based on procedures tailored to them. many the situation and the patient—not all.

Although there are obvious advantages to using these protocols and the efficiencies derived from them, there are also disadvantages. This is especially true when the doctor-patient relationship is autocratic rather than cooperative.

No matter what medical situation you find yourself in, it’s easy to relinquish all power to your healthcare provider. Because they are health care providers who have spent years studying medicine and you assume they know more than you do.they probably conduct We have more medical information, but no amount of research or work experience can tell a healthcare provider everything there is to know you Specifically, this is why we must take an active role in care. And that’s one of the most important takeaways from “Overdue.”

In creating this resource, I learned how many options I have as a patient, what I can say no to, and what is a must. I also learned about questions, how to be comfortable asking those questions, and what to do if something doesn’t feel right.That’s the key to making it all work When Your healthcare provider to create a birthing experience that suits you.

During one of the pre-production conference calls, Tomi gave an example one of the site’s readers didn’t know she could share. XYZ In labor or may refuse ABC. “I didn’t know,” Tomi said, not wanting to hear more stories like that.

In a better world, we don’t need resources like “Overdue”. Because everyone can go to the hospital without fear of not being able to return alive or worrying that they will not be heard.

During the casting process for Mom Cuts, one of our recent video series, we asked applicants to share their birth stories. When I was reviewing her submission, her sister, who helped her with casting, asked if she was specifically looking for a woman who had had a bad experience, and I told her no, she just happened to be like that. I said I just became Most of those who applied had a negative experience, like Victoria.

“The most distressing part of my birth experience was feeling like no one was advocating for what my husband and I wanted. I found that I was below the percentile and suspected my placenta was not working properly.To reduce the chances of Zahara having a stillbirth, I went to the hospital twice a week. I was being watched and watched.”

RELATED: The White House is working on black maternal health — and it’s time

“That visit was excruciating. A few times her heart rate slowed and the conversation about emergency C-sections came up. I tried

“Even though I had clearly stated my desire was to have a natural birth and allow my body to start labor naturally, my doctor kept warning me that there would be an induction in our future. The first time I told my doctor about my birth plans, I was told, “You’re likely to get induction, so they probably don’t apply to you.” She still offered to see the birth plan, but we were already shaken by how nonchalantly she dismissed the document detailing our wishes that we had spent hours preparing. was “

“We were pressured to undergo induction, pressured to break my water. Overall, it felt like the doctors had an agenda, and in the end, they prioritized that agenda over what we wanted.”

This kind of language is exactly what Ebony flags in our video. Ebony will also give you a birth that feels like your own birth, as opposed to what your doctor is pushing on you, even if you have complications during your pregnancy or if you’re deemed high-risk. It also talks about how it can be done.

Knowing that you can decline certain recommendations, knowing that you can find a doctor who works When You are the proverbial (and perhaps literal) lifesaver in a crisis riddled with prejudice, socioeconomic inequality, and institutional failure.

In a better world, we don’t need resources like “Overdue”. Because everyone can go to the hospital without fear of not being able to return alive or worrying that they will not be heard.Unfortunately we don’t live in that world yetthat is, “expired” is a resource that black women can use to navigate the reality we live in now.

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