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Mind, body, and maternal health.

We all want to live in a community where our families thrive and live healthy, joyful, connected lives.

But for many Black parents, that is not their reality. Black women and birthing people are 3-5 times more likely to have a maternal death than white women in the United States. It’s the same here at home. In Pierce County, Black babies under 1 year of age die at about double the rate of white babies.

April 11-17 is Black Maternal Health Week, founded in 2018 by Black Mamas Matter Alliance to amplify the voices of Black birthing parents. This week is a time to reflect, and to reenergize our commitment to improving Black maternal health in Pierce County.

Mental health connects to maternal health

Mental health conditions are one of the leading causes of death in pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes depression, anxiety, death by suicide, and substance use disorders are the most frequent underlying causes of maternal death followed by illness and other conditions.

Mental health and other social determinates contribute to ongoing disparities for Black women and birthing people. New research shows 29-44% of Black women experience postpartum depressive symptoms.

A birthing parent’s ability to care for themselves and their infant after birth is an important factor in maternal health. Many Black birthing parents experience things like:

  • Discrimination.
  • Racism.
  • Sexism.

The life challenges around pregnancy can often be taxing and demanding, especially for Black mothers. But you can find help.

Maternal support

Our Black Infant Health team has Black nurses and community health workers providing support like:

  • Mentorship, emotional support, and health education.
  • Postpartum nursing visits.
  • Monthly peer support groups.
  • Links to services during pregnancy and infancy, and more.

Late last year, we formed a Black Infant Health Community Advisory Board. The board brings lived experience and analysis to the Black Infant Health team. They help ensure equity, community involvement, and support.

Reach out to our Black Infant Health team with questions.

Other helpful resources:

  • Perinatal Support Washington’s Warm Line offers warm, understanding, and private support through our parent volunteers and trained staff. 
  • Baby Lounge is a safe space for all families with babies to connect and learn together.
  • Being the Village works to foster a supportive environment and social supports to Black and brown moms.  
  • Melanin and Milk offers lactation support and a safe and supportive space to talk or just listen. Sometimes it is just nice to know you’re not alone. Babies welcome.   
  • Black Moms Connect is an online support group for Black mothers who are seeking peer support during the perinatal period up to 2 years postpartum.   
  • National Maternal Mental Health Hotline 24/7 is a free, confidential hotline for pregnant and new moms in English and Spanish. Call or text (833) TLC-MAMA ((833) 852-6262). TTY users can use a preferred relay service or dial 711 and then (833) 852-6262.