Maternal Mental Health

I want to talk a little about mental health today, as we recognize maternal mental health this month. First, I’m not a mental health professional but I’m a maternal health advocate and critical incident professional so I have experience dealing with individuals in both areas.

What’s Maternal Mental Health?

According to The World Health Organization, Worldwide about 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth experience a mental disorder, primarily depression. In developing countries this is even higher, i.e. 15.6% during pregnancy and 19.8% after child birth. In severe cases mothers’ suffering might be so severe that they may even commit suicide. In addition, the affected mothers cannot function properly. As a result, the children’s growth and development may be negatively affected as well. Maternal mental disorders are treatable. Effective interventions can be delivered even by well-trained non-specialist health providers.

Who’s At Risk?

Virtually all women can develop mental disorders during pregnancy and in the first year after delivery, but poverty, migration, extreme stress, exposure to violence (domestic, sexual and gender-based), emergency and conflict situations, natural disasters, and low social support generally increase risks for specific disorders.

Effects of maternal mental disorders after birth on the mother and the infant

After the birth, the mother with depression suffers a lot and may fail to adequately eat, bathe or care for herself in other ways. This may increase the risks of ill health. The risk of suicide is also a consideration, and in psychotic illnesses, the risk of infanticide, though rare, must be taken into consideration.

Very young infants can be affected by and are highly sensitive to the environment and the quality of care, and are likely to be affected by mothers with mental disorders as well. Prolonged or severe mental illness hampers the mother-infant attachment, breastfeeding and infant care.

Where Can You Find Help?

We want every mom expecting and those who have delivered already to know you don’t have to suffer in silence. We have a link at the end that has alot of great resources if you’re in need of help. https://www.mhtf.org/topics/perinatal-mental-health/

Black Maternal Health, What Does It Mean?


What is Maternal Health?

According to dictionary, Maternal health is the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. It encompasses the health care dimensions of family planning, preconception, prenatal, and postnatal care in order to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality. 

What is Black Maternal Health?

The United States has the worst maternal health outcomes in the developed world, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made conditions worse. (Commonwealth Fund). Black maternal health is the same as maternal health it is just the neglect that women of color get from doctors who neglect to listen to women of color when they say they are in pain, when they mention that something doesn’t feel right are they are misdiagnosed.

“We can’t just sit by and watch women of color die because we are waiting on someone in government to act like they care, we must fight and fight like hell for our health and our children’s health .”

— Trina Cook CEO of The Milford Group


Let’s Talk Statistics.

Significant racial and ethnic disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality exist in the United States. Black women are three to four times more likely to die a pregnancy-related death as compared with white women. Growing research indicates that quality of healthcare, from preconception through postpartum care, may be a critical lever for improving outcomes for racial and ethnic minority women. This article reviews racial and ethnic disparities in severe maternal morbidities and mortality, underlying drivers of these disparities, and potential levers to reduce their occurrence. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5915910/

  • The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. for 2018 was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. However, significant racial and ethnic gaps exist between non-Hispanic black (37.1 per 100,000 live births), non-Hispanic white (14.7), and Hispanic (11.8) women (CDC)
  • The rates of maternal mortality and morbidity among Black women are especially alarming. Black women are nearly three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women.
  • Black women in the United States are more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth than women in any other race group.
  • Black women’s heightened risk of pregnancy-related death spans income and education levels. (CAP)
  • Black women experience more maternal health complications than white women and are more likely to experience complications throughout the course of their pregnancies than white women.

Can This Be Prevented? Yes!

The death of a woman during pregnancy, at delivery, or soon after delivery is a tragedy for her family and for society as a whole. Sadly, about 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications.

During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through many changes. These changes are entirely normal, but may become very important in case there are complications or problems. There are plenty of organizations working together to bring about change in the way doctors deliver babies and different protocols that have been implemented to help reduce maternal mortality as it pertains to women of color.

My Closing Word,

In closing there is more effort to preventing the death of women of color when giving birth, but we have a long way to go. We must first have doctors who care about the health of their patients and not just the money aspect because the same effort you put into making sure white women have a successful birth outcome needs to be the same effort you put into making sure women of color have a successful birth outcome are just don’t accept them as your patient if you don’t care. Secondly women if you feel that your doctor isn’t giving you the care you feel you deserve leave and find someone else who will, You Must Become Your Own Advocate It’s Your Body and Your Baby At Stake!