Black women more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes

VA addresses the impact of bias and racism on health care delivery


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Women Veterans are the fastest growing and most diverse group of VA health care users. Black women make up more than 30 percent of all women Veterans receiving health care at VA. With this growth, the number of Black women who are pregnant and using maternity care benefits is also likely on the rise.

The United States has the highest rates of infant and maternal deaths of any high-income country. Pregnancy-related deaths have more than doubled over the last 40 years to about 700 women a year.

Black women are 2 to 3 times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. Existing medical conditions, access to quality care, and systemic racism may be some of the reasons.

VA covers the first seven days of newborn care.

April 11-17 marks the fourth National Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW), which seeks solutions to health care differences that threaten the health, and sometimes the lives, of Black pregnant women and their babies.

VA recognizes that to improve maternal health outcomes for Black Veterans, and all Veterans of color, we must address the impact of bias and racism on health care delivery.

VA’s commitment to equitable, high-quality care for all pregnant Veterans

Equitable access to high-quality care is a core principle of VA’s health care mission. VA recognizes the service of Black women Veterans and is committed to respectful, quality care for all pregnant Veterans.

“Veteran-focused care that puts Veterans’ individual needs first – including their non-clinical, social needs – has been shown to improve pregnancy outcomes for all women, including women of color,” said Dr. Amanda Johnson, director of Reproductive Health for VA’s Women’s Health.

“We provide maternity care coordinators who really listen to your needs and support you through every stage of your pregnancy in partnership with you and your providers.

“It’s important to talk with your provider if you’re thinking about becoming, or already are, pregnant,” she added.

Maternal Health resources for women Veterans

VA covers full maternity care from the time of the first positive pregnancy test through delivery and follow-up appointments. We also cover the first seven days of newborn care. We want to ensure you get the care you and your baby deserve.

VA offers a range of benefits and resources to support Veterans through every stage of their journey. Benefits and resources include, but are not limited to, preconception care, fertility care, maternity care coordinators, and postpartum mood and anxiety treatment.

Author

Sally Haskell

Comments

  1. Ferdinand Gonzalez    

    Don’t Forget e pluribus unum. We’re all Americans

  2. Nhayah Goode    

    Keep Black Women out of your mouth. We’re the strongest most resilient women alive. Go talk about white women and their problems. Black Women are fine.

    1. Kaytee Cowperthwaite    

      Nah yah, Except that Black women (and their babies) are not fine, in the area of pregnancy and childbirth.

  3. John R Mockles    

    I constantly see where the VA Healthcare system is catering to one diversity group or another. When are the going to start providing quality care for white, male, service- connected veterans? I cannot receive QUALITY healthcare through the VA, and have not been able to for nearly ten years. My last 4 appointments have been canceled. I have not seen (or been treated) by my doctors for more than 6 months. My next appointment is now scheduled for May 20. I have filed complaints with the Patient Advocate, the Office of the Inspector. General. All to no avail. I feel my next step should be the national media. Maybe they would pick ip the issue. Then things might change for those of us getting shoved into the cracks in the system.

    1. Kaytee Cowperthwaite    

      John, this comment is the epitome of white, male privilege! You are obviously not THAT unhappy with the VA care if you’ve stuck it out for 10 years. Why not change insurance/healthcare providers? And why minimize another ethnic group’s problems? I bet you’re one of those people who complain “where’s my white history month?!”

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