Racism May Cause Black Mothers to Have Higher Risk of Going Into Early Labor

Racism May Cause Black Mothers to Have Higher Risk of Going Into Early Labor

by December 21, 2017
GDN drew inspiration for this article from RHITU CHATTERJEE and by REBECCA DAVIS’s article, “How Racism May Cause Black Mothers To Suffer The Death Of Their Infants

. Editor’s note: This story contains language that may be offensive.

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Samantha Pierce of Cleveland has a 7-year-old daughter, Camryn. In 2009, Pierce gave premature birth to twins. The babies did not survive. Scientists say black women lead more stressful lives, which makes them more likely to give birth prematurely and puts their babies at risk of dying.
Dustin Franz for NPR

Pierce thought she was a poster child for a good pregnancy. She already had one son from a previous marriage, and that pregnancy was healthy and normal. She had a college degree, which is known to improve women’s chances of having a healthy pregnancy. She was getting regular checkups and taking her prenatal vitamins.

Everything went smoothly until one day in her second trimester she discovered she was leaking fluid. After a week in the hospital, still leaking, her water broke and she gave birth to her sons. “They lived for about five minutes, each of them,” she says. “But they couldn’t breathe. They didn’t have lungs. We got to hold them, talk to them. I could see them breathing. I could also see them stop breathing, you know.”

Pierce was devastated. For months, she couldn’t bear to look at herself in the mirror, especially her stomach. She felt as if her womb was a cemetery — “a walking tomb,” she says. “It was just walking evidence of loss, of failure, of not being able to hold kids in. I couldn’t even do the one thing I was put on this planet for, which was bear children.”


 

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