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Colorado lawmakers look at ways to lower maternal death rate among Black mothers

Posted at 8:29 PM, May 16, 2021

SOUTHERN COLORADO — More doctors are calling attention to how African-American women, often suffer greater health problems during pregnancy.

2020 statistics from the CDC, show per 100,000 babies born alive there were 13 deaths among white women, but more than triple that, 42.4 deaths were among black women. When it comes to maternal mortality rates among eleven developed countries, U.S. ranks last.

"If this is going to happen to women who are rich and famous, like Serena Williams and Beyonce, then what is going to happen to me?" said Dr. Ebony Carter, an Obstetrician at Washington University.

Many experts in maternity care, say racial an economic barriers in healthcare, and a distrust of the healthcare system are to blame.

"We've seen studies over time and that have shown that medical students have this weird belief that black people can tolerate higher levels of pain, or they have literally thicker skin than others," explained Venicia Gray, during an interview with our news partner. Gray works with the National Partnership of Women and Families. "Other studies have revealed that black patients are less likely to receive appropriate medication for pain and not hurt," she said.

Colorado lawmakers are considering a bill that could help. If passed it would direct the Colorado Maternal Mortality Review Committee, to collect data on race and the connection to birth outcomes, neonatal intensive care unit stays, preeclampsia cases, and deaths. The bill will be heard next by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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