pregnant someday, statistics are scaring me into second-guessing my desires. Black women have three to four times higher risk of dying from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications than white women in the United States. Given this fact, I would not consider childbirth.
Despite spending more per capita on health care than any other industrialized nation, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of the industrialized world, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Around 700 people in the United States from pregnancy-related complications each year, the CDC says. Another crushing statistic: About 60 percent of these are pregnancy-related deaths are preventable.
People who are black and pregnant or have postpartum are most vulnerable to dying at this time. The maternal mortality rate for black non-Hispanic people is 42.8 deaths per 100,000 live births, according to the most recent CDC data. White non-Hispanic people experience a much lower death rate than death deaths per 100,000 live births. (From this point on, when we use the terms "black" and "white," we mean people of those races who are non-Hispanic.)
dangerous health conditions before they have a chance to become lethal. Of those who are due to pregnancy-related complications, "a third of people who during actual childbirth, about a third within a week of having the baby, and the rest the up to a year later," Joia Crear-Perry MD, founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative, tells SELF.
With that said, it's impossible to talk about the health of black and pregnant women without addressing racism in health care settings , It should not be for us to save ourselves. Sara Brubaker MD, Assistant Professor of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Associate Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Program at NYU Langone Health, tells SELF , clear factor in racial maternal mortality disparities.
Advocating for our health and safety as black people in the health care system does not always work, but I do believe that knowing early warning signs of health issues can only help us in the fight to protect ourselves.
If you're black and pregnant, hoping to one day to be pregnant, or have had a baby, I hope this helps you to improve your health, to improve your health and to improve your health. I know it can be read through this, but the ultimate goal is to help you become an advocate for yourself.
1. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms, please do not feel right. Hypertension
Hypertension is another term for high blood pressure. Your blood pressure is a measure of the amount of blood pressure in your arteries, according to the Mayo Clinic . The more blood your heart shunts around your body and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure climbs. Overall, over the age of 20 years and over, it is believed that they have hypertension as their white counterparts, CDC .
Hypertension can be broken down into two other categories , There is chronic hypertension, which occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and there is no such thing as gestational hypertension. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) , When you're pregnant, your body's going through a scrounge of changes that can put more stress on various critical systems. High blood pressure in pregnancy just exacerbates that, even more strain on organs like your heart and kidneys, ACOG says.
In addition to being black, hypertension risk factors include a family history of high blood pressure, being overweight or obese a lack of physical activity, stress (as well as dealing with stress by using tobacco or drinking alcohol), and chronic conditions such as kidney disease and diabetes the Mayo Clinic says
Signs to look for: The tricky thing about high blood pressure is that it typically does not have noticeable symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic . If you come to pregnancy, especially if you already have hypertension or a cluster of the above risk factors. "Throughout pregnancy, you want to maintain your regular prenatal appointments," Brubaker says.
We know that can be easier said than done. A lot of things can make it difficult to see your doctor. But it does not matter what it is, but it does not make any sense for you. "
If left untreated, either type of hypertension can lead to preeclampsia, though it's more likely to happen with the chronic form, the CDC says. This potentially dangerous condition involves high blood pressure along with damage to essential organs like the kidneys, ACOG . Preeclampsia usually begins to appear after […] from preeclampsia complications than white women. As it is, it is very important for any woman to be pregnant or is currently pregnant with this condition. Brubaker says. Since preeclampsia can also happen in the postpartum period, it helps for anyone who has recently given birth to it as well.
Preeclampsia risk factors include being pregnant for the first time, having experienced preeclampsia in an early pregnancy, being obese, being over 40, and having chronic hypertension, kidney disease, or diabetes ACOG .
In severe cases, preeclampsia can devolve into HELLP syndrome, which ACOG stands for h emolysis (damage to red blood cells), e levated l iver enzymes (a sign of liver damage), l ow p latelet count (cells that help your blood clot). HELLP syndrome can be deadly.
See your doctor immediately If you are dealing with symptoms like facial expressions, or if you have any symptoms, please do not hesitate to contact us severe headache, eyesight changes like spotty or blurred vision, abdominal pain (especially under your ribs on the right side), shoulder pain, shortness of breath, and decreased urination. In some cases it may signal excess protein in your urine, which may be the sign of kidney damage.
Around one in 200 pregnant people with untreated preeclampsia wants to develop eclampsia, according to the u. Library of Medicine .
You can develop eclampsia without any signs of preeclampsia, and even if you do not show symptoms, you can progress from preeclampsia to eclampsia very quickly, often within a few days, dr. Brubaker says. Additionally, while one of the third-party cases is still happening after The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development . 19659036] Unfortunately, as the Mayo Clinic notes, there are not really specific signs anybody is in eclampsia besides besides seizures. Otherwise, eclampsia can cause symptoms as preeclampsia. Prenatal care is-especially if you're black.
Fibroids are benign tumors that form in or on the uterus, according to the Mayo Clinic . The fact that fibroids are non-cancerous is pretty much the only remotely good thing about them.
Fibroids can cause issues like intense pain and worryingly heavy periods . Sometimes (although this is not common) miscarriage according to the Mayo Clinic . And if someone with fibroids gets pregnant, they may be at higher risk of complications as premature birth, smaller fetus size, and placental abruption (when the placenta, which provides nutrients to the fetus, separate from the wall of the uterus). Pregnancy hormones seem to encourage fibroids to become larger, the Merck Manual says, which could put you at higher risk of complications.
These tumors are more prevalent in black women; About half develop symptomatic fibroids at some point compared with a quarter of white women, according to the Merck Manual. On top of that, black women tend to show more severe symptoms of fibroids and have them at younger than white women, dr. Crear-Perry says.
Signs to look for: Many people do not realize that they have fibroids. Even if you have them, they will not have any problems with pregnancy or childbirth. Symptoms like heavy bleeding, intense cramping, a persistent urge to pee but trouble fully emptying your bladder, and even a feeling of heaviness in your pelvis, you might want to talk to your doctor.
5. Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes gestational diabetes is a patient who has not had diabetes. Insulin, a hormone from your pancreas, that helps you properly draw energy from glucose (sugar) in the foods you eat. It typically shows up around the 24th week of pregnancy, according to the CDC . Mayo Clinic .
For some people, gestational diabetes goes away without causing any issues , For others, it may be high blood pressure, the CDC says. Gestational diabetes can increase your odds of having a baby that's 9 pounds or more, which can boost your risk of needing a C-section and of having a baby that's born too early.
Even 2 diabetes and prediabetes (when blood sugar levels are higher than average but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes, the CDC explains.
Much like the above conditions, gestational diabetes Mayo Clinic says. The best thing you can do is talk to your doctor about it during routine prenatal visits and, if necessary, monitor your blood sugar levels throughout pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic . Regular contact with your doctor can help you catch any abnormalities before they turn into serious complications.
6. Peripartum cardiomyopathy
Also called PPCM, this is a rare form of heart failure that can last for five months or more, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) , AHA explains.
Black pregnant people seem more vulnerable if they develop it. A 2016 review in Circulation summarized much of the evidence on the subject, finding that over 40 percent of PPCM cases in nationwide studies happened in black people. Population studies in California and North Carolina showed PPCM incidence rates about three and four times higher in black people than in white people, respectively.
It's not really known what causes peripartum cardiomyopathy, but some of the risk factors include "AHA ." Signs to look for: Symptoms include fatigue, heart palpitations, peeing more at night, shortness of breath even when you're lying down, feeling faint when you stand up, swollen ankles, and swollen neck veins, the AHA says. If you're thinking that's just sounds like regular pregnancy symptoms, you're absolutely right. But it's important to see a doctor anyway. Which AHA says.
Stroke can be lethal because it interrupts blood supply to the brain, according to the Mayo Clinic .
CDC CDC stroke. In fact, high blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke in pregnant and postpartum people, the CDC says.
If your face, arms, or legs suddenly go numb or weak-especially if it only happens on one side of the body-you might have a stroke, the CDC says. Other symptoms include confusion, dizziness, trouble walking, severe headache, and problem speaking, understanding, or seeing.
8. Postpartum hemorrhage
"Anybody, even without certain conditions, can have a hemorrhage"
Brubaker says. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology points to black people being most at risk. The study, which analyzed 360.370 people who experienced postpartum hemorrhage from 2012 to 2014, found that 121.8 black people out of every 100,000 who gave birth due to postpartum hemorrhage, compared with 24.1 white people per 100,000 who gave birth to dying from the same cause.
The most common reason for postpartum hemorrhage is uterine atony, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). This is when the uterus does not contract enough after lab, the Mayo Clinic explains. Other issues like long, complicated lab, uterine tearing, and uterine inversion (when the uterus actually turns upside down) can also cause hemorrhaging, the Merck Manual says.
Signs to look for: Because most postpartum hemorrhage occurs during or after delivery, you to look for.
There are, however, rare instances of a condition called delayed postpartum hemorrhage, dr. Brubaker says, which can cause bleeding within the first 12 weeks after delivery. When we say rare, we mean to come to 0.23 to 3 percent of all pregnancies. Some bleeding after childbirth is completely normal, but if you go through more than one pad in an hour, call your doctor or go back to the hospital, dr. Crear-Perry says.
9. Venous thromboembolism
Venous thromboembolism describes the dangerous phenomenon of having blood clots in your veins, CDC . When these blood clots happen in one of the veins deeper in the body, it's called deep vein thrombosis . In what's known as pulmonary embolism, this type of clot can break down, where it can block off blood supply. This can be life-threatening.
Getting pregnant is now more likely to be more likely to result in venous thromboembolism, with a 30 to 60 percent higher risk of developing this condition to wind up with a blood clot, the CDC says. This postpartum hemorrhage, the CDC explains. Your growing uterus can also be pumped through your body, which gives you more of a chance to lose weight in your limbs.
Other blood clot risk factors have a C-section or any other major surgery , and limited physical activity (according to the CDC . heart disease and diabetes, can play a role.
Signs to look for: Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis show up in the affected limb, like your arm or leg, the CDC says. They include swelling, pain, warmth, redness, and discoloration, according to the CDC . If you have pulmonary embolism, you may be suffering from trouble breathing, pain that gets worse when you take a deep breath or cough, or racing or irregular heartbeat.
10. Preterm birth
Any birth that occurs before 37 weeks is considered preterm, the CDC . Preterm birth can be deadly for babies, and those who are at higher risk of issues like respiratory problems and developmental delays. This is a prevalent and worrisome health issue; around 1 in 10 babies were born too early in 2017, according to the CDC . CDC data.
Preterm birth can happen for a number of reasons, like a history of going into labor 18 months between pregnancies, the CDC says.
A 2018 study published in The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine aimed at exploring the relationship between maternal mortality and preterm birth. Using birth rate data from the California Office of Statewide Planning, who looked at the birth rate (876 per 10,000 births) and severe maternal health complications (140 per 10,000 births), found that 1 in 270 births had both preterm delivery and severe maternal health issues.
The researchers also emphasize that, just as with the other conditions on this list, racism has become part of the conversation here. "The weathering hypothesis posits that there's accumulative stress on the body from exposure to structural factors like racism and discrimination," Audrey Lyndon Ph.D., RCN, lead author on the preterm NYU's Rory Myers College of Nursing, tells SELF. "There [are]" Preterm labor is the same as regular laboratory, it just starts before 37 weeks. Signs include contractions every 10 minutes or more, leaking in the vagina, and the sensation that the baby is pushing down. People in preterm labor may also experience a dull ache in their lower back and abdominal cramping that may or may not include diarrhea, the CDC says.
11. Postpartum depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions
There is a lot of focus on making sure that you have healthy birthing experiences. But that makes it easy to sideline mental health in this space, even though it's just as crucial for wellbeing. postpartum depression and anxiety, along with less common conditions like postpartum bipolar disorder [Accordingtoa 2017 CDC analysis of 27 states, around one in nine people experience symptoms of postpartum depression. Data on postpartum anxiety is not as robust, but what research does it may actually be more common than postpartum depression. A 2013 study in Pediatrics found that 17 percent of the 1.123 postpartum people examined showed signs of postpartum anxiety compared to 6 percent who exhibited symptoms of postpartum depression (and 3.7 percent who showed signs of both). More research is needed to confirm both. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), black people are not necessarily more likely to experience mental health community mental health stigma according to. (19459225), according to but it can not be used in any other way the American Psychological Association (APA).
The stress of a new baby, a lack of support, and logistical challenges in postpartum depression and anxiety; Crear-Perry says.
"[It] [It] Can you make a difference?" Brubaker says. How are you supposed to be in a regular mood? "
Let's start with postpartum depression. NIMH NIMH The Symptoms of Hopelessness and Loss of Interest in Things. , On top of that, postpartum depression can lead to crying more than usual, being angry, feeling disconnected from your baby, doubting your ability to take care of your baby, and thinking about doing harm to yourself or the baby, according to the CDC . Most importantly, you do not need to get any symptoms to justify getting help. Worrying can thus be a feature of postpartum depression, but it's the hallmark of postpartum anxiety . If you're experiencing an intense level of anxiety or fear after having a baby it's hard for you to go about life as normal (or as close as possible to a new parent), that could be a sign of postpartum anxiety .
Ultimately, if you're feeling any of these emotions (or any of the above physical symptoms we mentioned) reach out to your doctor. All pregnant people and new parents deserve to be safe, happy, and healthy black ones included.