AMSA Honors the 6th Annual Black Maternal Health Week 2023

April 11, 2023

AMSA Honors the 6th Annual Black Maternal Health Week 2023

Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW) is a week-long campaign that is held annually on April 11-17th. BMHW intentionally begins on April 11th to coincide the start of International Maternal Health and Rights Day, joining global organizations in advocating for maternal health and justice worldwide. BMHW was founded and led by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA)​  a “Black women-led cross-sectoral alliance that centers Black mamas* and birthing people to advocate, drive research, build power, and shift culture for Black maternal health, rights, and justice.” BMHM was officially recognized by the White House in 2021 and continues to be recognized every year since. Read and share the White House proclamation from this year for Black Maternal Health Week 2023

*”BMMA uses the phrase “BLACK MAMAS” to represent the full diversity of our lived experiences that includes birthing persons (cis women, trans folks, and gender expansive individuals) that are people of African descent across the diaspora (Afro-Latinx, African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Black, and African Immigrant).”

In light of the dangerous rise in maternal mortality in the United States, with more than double the risk for Black birthing individuals as evidenced by the CDC’s report of Maternal Mortality Rates in 2021, this year’s theme for BMHW is “Our Bodies Belong to Us: Restoring Black Autonomy and Joy!.” Actions organized by BMMA and key information that shine light on the Black maternal mortality crisis can be found here, including a toolkit highlighting health facts, reproductive rights/justice, black maternal health policy, allied organizations and more. In addition, BMHW continues to focus efforts on highlighting the lifesaving work of Black Midwifery care and full-spectrum Black-led Doula care, emphasizing the “sound, evidence-based solutions.”  Several organizations to highlight include but are not limited to Southern Birth Justice Network, National Black Midwives Alliance, and Ancient Song Doula Services

Facts we know: 

An alarming 84% of maternal deaths are preventable in the United States. Physicians and healthcare professionals have a vital role in reducing maternal mortality and morbidity. Important actions we can take include: 

  • Truly listening to pregnant, birthing, and postpartum people – this can be your most important tool 
  • Helping patients, and their families, understand and watch for urgent maternal warning signs
  • Recognizing and eliminating unconscious bias in ourselves, among our colleagues, in our institutions, and our workplaces
  • Supporting full spectrum doulas and midwives as vital assets to reproductive health and wellbeing of individuals that can drastically improve the outcomes of individuals’ reproductive journeys
  • Advocating for elimination of social and structural barriers our patients face to care

Find tools and resources from the CDC at Working Together to Reduce Black Maternal Mortality and Hear Her Campaign

Follow/tag with social media updates at #BMHW23 and on twitter @BlkMamasMatter 

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