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Monday, June 16, 2014

Systemic Racism is Killing Black Babies in America — But There is Something Black Women Can Do About It!

By Shafia M. Monroe,
Founder of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing

Racism Killing Black Babies

Nationwide — The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says the U.S. infant mortality rate is the highest among selected states in the South and Midwest regions. In 2010, 13 states and the District of Columbia had infant mortality rates of 7.00–7.99, and two additional states (Mississippi and Alabama) had infant mortality rates of 8.00 or higher, (www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db120.pdf).

According to recent studies, systemic racism in America is negatively impacting the health of pregnant black women, by creating stress over load on their system which is affecting the health of babies. Black babies are being born too soon and too small, and lack the option of being breastfed, as result of stress.

Evidence shows that when a pregnant woman alone or with a partner employs culturally competent doula services, it can help reduce her stress and reduce premature and low birth weight babies. These are the two main indicators for the higher infant mortality rate in the black community, regardless of educational status. Having a doula can reduce the risk of a caesarean section, medical intervention, aid in shorter labors, increase breastfeeding in the first hour after birth, and create a feeling of satisfaction with the birth experience by both parents (unnatural causes/when the bough breaks.)

Pregnancy and birth experience can be improved for families by having more black women trained as doulas to offer services

A doula is a Greek word and it means woman helper or birth companion.

The ICTC doula training teaches the causes and solutions to reduce black infant mortality, offers a dual certification as a birth and postpartum doula, and teaches the midwifery model of care, entrepreneurial skills, and leadership. The ICTC has been training Full Circle Doulas® since 2012, with over 1,500 trained and 85% are women of color. The ICTC is the leading doula training organization in the world for health equity, cultural competency and teaching the legacy of the African American midwife as a public health model, to improve birth outcomes and support healthy parenting.

Founded in 1991, the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) is a non-profit infant mortality prevention, breastfeeding promotion and doula training organization. Their mission is to increase the number of midwives, doulas, and healers of color, to empower families to reduce infant and maternal mortality.

Closing the gap

The doula profession is a growing profession in the US, but there is a shortage of black doulas. The ICTC is traveling across the nation to close the gap by training more doulas to address the CDC statistics. This year the ICTC will train in IL, MS, AL, MD, VA, NY, WI and NJ.

Train as an ICTC Doula and help save babies and build a new career. Healthy babies are everyone’s business.

Contact the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) and join their free-e-news for training updates and to learn more at www.ictcmidwives.org or 503-460-9324.

Shafia Monroe
International Center for Traditional Childbearing