​​Black mothers are three to four times more likely to die in childbirth compared to white mothers who are similarly positioned, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

he died of Marx. Yeah. So yeah, I didn’t want to let go. What was hard that I think um, the hospital should consider was putting me into a room next to moms who did deliver and I’m hearing their babies all night crying. So every time their baby cried and whimpered or anything, I woke up like reaching for my baby. So that was very hard. That was very hard, definitely. Moms and babies are dying from pregnancy related complications across the country and in north Carolina and the rates for black moms and babies are much higher. I grew up in a lot of babies died and I didn’t realize until I got to college that most people did not have that experience of burying newborns. Black women specifically are more likely to die in childbirth at four times. The rate of white women that are similarly positioned. There is a higher statistic that either I’m not going to make it, my baby is not gonna make it or we both may not make it. The US has the worst maternal death rates compared to all other wealthy countries. We have babies dying every day. We have moms who are dying. Are we okay with that? I think that is the question that we all should ask ourselves. No, we’re not. I’m WRL investigative documentary reporter Kristen severance and I’m WRL anchor and reporter Julian Grace. I’m a mom of twins. We set out to report on this issue together. I knew this was happening. I was aware, but I had no idea how bad this was. I am a father of four. My wife and I. We have been through this four times and I just didn’t realize the information that was out there on what women go through each and every day. Specifically women who look like my wife. We wanted to understand why this is happening. A large percentage of this comes down to a mom not being heard. And I’m like y’all not listening to me, I’m telling you I’m ready. I would be in so much pain. We almost lost both of them. If the doctor had just listened and taking her pain seriously. We traveled to D. C. And sat down with the lawmakers trying to do something. We learned about new programs that are working. We can address disparities among pregnant moms and I think we can eliminate them. I really believe we can. There are no reason those should exist. And spoke with providers trying desperately to change the outcome for these moms and babies. All right. That’s funny. Yeah. I just always wanted it. Even when I was a kid I would be like seven years old talking about I’m gonna be a mom one day and I’m gonna have five kids. Ashley Richardson experienced the joy of being pregnant And the trauma of miscarrying a baby five times. Unfortunately those five pregnancies all past 14 weeks and under. And that is very frustrating and overwhelming and Yeah you could feel the defeat. Then she got pregnant 1/6 time. A son. She would name Pharaoh. Once I made it past that 14 weeks. Oh I knew this was it. We’re gonna have this baby. I was so happy. I just knew it was meant to be. But Pharaoh came early at 22 weeks and five days. Doctors said his lungs weren’t developed. They couldn’t save him. It was the part holding him that still gets me to this day. Hold him and just watching him breathe and yeah, not being able to do anything. I wanted to just breathe in his mouth and give him cpr hoping that would help. That image still hurts me to this day because I couldn’t protect mine. But Ashley did nothing wrong. She said after pharaoh died, doctors finally listened to her and check to see what was wrong. She said, well now these were her exact words and I remember it because you lost this one. You now qualify that one. That one word got me and you now qualified to be tested on why you’re losing your babies. I said, what is this a competition? You know why I have to qualify to get assistance on my uterus. Unlike after five losses, I would have thought I was considered high risk. They found blood was not getting to the babies because of extra tissue. The problem was fixed with an outpatient procedure. But it was too late to save Farrow, she took this picture of his crib in the hospital before she said goodbye. I got the pictures I recorded. They allowed me to do that. But I cherish those. I cherish every moment to this day. I really do Ashley’s story of loss and not feeling heard is not an outlier. We spent weeks hearing from women with similar stories. I had a friend lose twins and that made me scared. I lost my twins in 94. I lost my son in 98. My water would just break and I didn’t know why my experiences were horrific. I lost my son after childbirth and it was a twin. The US ranks 33rd out of 36 developed countries for infant mortality. North Carolina ranks in the 10 worst state For infant deaths in North Carolina. We look at our most recent data in 2020, we had over 800 infants that died before their first birthday. Belinda Pettiford at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has spent her 30 year career working on this issue. We should not want anyone first of all to have an infant death. But at the same time, we also need to be really concerned about why is this rate so much higher. In a specific population. Black babies have more than two times the chance of dying before they turn one in north Carolina. Why are these babies impacted so much more? I think there’s a host of things. You know, I think clinical care is just one piece of it. You know, we spend time focused on implicit bias and trying to make sure we we know we all have biases. It is who we are as individuals, but we need to be aware of our biases. Many professionals studying maternal and infant mortality in the black community point to implicit bias in the health care industry as one factor for these high numbers treating someone differently without realizing you’re doing it. It’s happening every single day. Darlene says Singletary is a Wake County public health educator. We’ve read this troubling statistic several times, a black baby born in Southeast Raleigh is twice less likely to see their first birthday compared to a white baby born in Wake County. Why is that structure racism, Implicit bias? A lot of people like to think, Oh that’s you know, 30, 40, 50 years ago now it’s still alive and well today we know we have systems that were founded and built on structural and institutional racism. We know that this is happening. We may not want to talk about it, but it is our reality. The statistics for black mothers are just as troubling. Black moms are three times more likely to die from pregnancy than white mobs, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC list quality of care underlying chronic conditions, structural racism and implicit bias as reasons for these disparities and research shows 60% of these deaths are preventable. They don’t trust and they don’t trust for legitimate reasons. Dr Rachel or India at the University of North Carolina said it’s not the mom’s fault. I feel that that has been the past narrative about this. So black women are dying because they’re poor because they don’t take care of themselves because they’re not married because all of these things that get put on to black women and the fact of the matter is that’s not true. So, colleagues of ours did a study that showed that a black woman with a college education was more likely to die in childbirth than a white woman with with with a high school education. The study she’s referring to is called fighting at birth. What was your initial thought when you found out a white woman who doesn’t go past high school has a better rate than a black woman who has a doctorate and having a baby? I was stunned. Doctor keisha Bentley Edwards at Duke University co wrote the report. This is not an issue of drug abuse for black women obese. He is a big problem, but it doesn’t explain the disparities that we see. We have to look at something else and we have to investigate the role of racism and racial bias. Whether it’s implicit or explicit, we need to look at it. We have Duke Unc nurse, midwives and professors, Jacqueline Mcmillan bowler Stephanie devon johnson and venus standard created a program to help stop these disparities when I was growing up. You know, we knew that black women died more often in childbirth, but we always attributed it to genetics. That that must be some sort of genetic thing that’s making black women more likely to die. And we’ll just accept that along with hypertension and diabetes and all the other comorbidities that are that are prevalent. It’s not genetics, it is systemic racism that has led to this disparity across really all of those issues. They point to problematic training happening as well. There are also examples of things that we learned in our medical training that supports kind of racist thoughts that people of different groups experience pain differently. They expressed pain differently. And you all were taught what about black women when you were going through training that their pain level is exaggerated, they won’t tell you what’s real. So the in between reading the lines is don’t believe them because they don’t really need pain medicine because their pain is not real, weren’t you also taught that black women have a higher pain tolerance? Yes, Yes. And our skin is thicker and we don’t feel pain the same and absolutely in school, in school, I didn’t believe it, But that is what we were taught and like Jackie said, test it on. So we have to, you know, if you want to pass the test, you have to answer the way that they want you to answer the question. You can still find these false statements in modern healthcare textbooks. In 2017, the world’s largest education company issued an apology and re printed a nursing textbook for featuring racist stereotypes and teachings, including quote blacks often reported higher pain intensity than other cultures. I’m timbo and I leave global product development of Pearson. The company Ceo released this video after pages were posted online, We reinforced a number of stereotypes about ethnic and religious groups. It was wrong. And in 2016, a study published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found 40% of first and second-year medical students falsely thought black people’s skin is thicker than white people’s. Many say these teachings can be traced to the 18 hundreds, which J Marion sims and did his role increase. I am are in african american women. So J Marion Sims is looked at as the father of modern gynecology. He was a physician and he did experiments on enslaved black women to perfect several surgical procedures as well as some tools. The women were operated on most times without anesthesia without consent and often with an audience oftentimes the reason why there was no anesthesia is because there was this idea that black women or black people in general do not experience in the same way as white women. Simms published his works and they were passed on to other doctors and universities. So the way that this comes back today is where you find black women will talk about their pain. I don’t feel right and it can be ignored by their providers. We saw this with serena Williams. If she says something is not right and she gets pushed aside by a provider. What am I going to do? We all know who Beyonce is. Read stories about Beyonce and Serena Williams and the list goes on. These examples about things that are happening to people when they’re giving birth. They’re not listen to listen because that hurt. Oh it’s been quite a night, spent the evening over at UNC hospital. Deanna went into labor. The women working to change things. 5th, 3rd bank. Yeah, it’s a quirky name but here’s the thing five thirds equals 166.7%. Which is why we put 166.7% into helping you do you better. This is banking 1/5 3rd better. Hey, let’s put the kong pal. I’m stockpiling lucky numbers get more. Pick three and pick four wins. You should just play fireball when you added to pick three and pick four. You get an extra drawing number for more combinations to match and win. Oh Serving size one cookie. That was a typo make your own luck with fireball. The hot new add on with more combinations to match and win. 5th. 3rd extra time helps you do you better so kick back and relax. You have extra time to avoid overdraft fees. Third extra time. This is banking 1/5 3rd better. The triangle’s most watched local news is streaming, watch WRL news streaming live on Youtube Tv and hulu plus live Tv. Are you saving big or spending five on your side? Put five local grocery stores to the test. Who surprised us with high prices and where you can get the most bread for your buck monday at six. I feel that I feel great. Oh that’s right. Deana Hughes is ready to meet her first baby. We are about to have a delivery real soon. We have a mama who’s here, she’s almost at that point where we can start pushing but baby is not ready just yet. First time mama sometimes get discouraged because it can take a little longer than what they see on tv birth is not like what is on tv tv. You your water breaks at eight o’clock and you have a baby by 8 30 that’s not real life. You’re doing amazing venus standard is delivering the baby at U. N. C. You’re only listening to me and by Diana’s side for every push laughing contraction, her partner, her mom and her doula a doula is basically a coach for a mom helping her through pregnancy and after hoping and praying for a happy healthy baby. We interviewed Diana just two weeks before her delivery about having a doula. I just feel like without her I don’t think I could have made it this far because I have like really bad anxiety and every step along the way like every time I feel like something was going wrong, my daughter was there to reassure me like we got this, everything’s gonna be alright. Gonna be an experience. They were connected through the alliance of black doors for black mamas. All of these women were the new moms moms to be and their doulas, doulas are pretty much the second set of eyes and ears for families. Thank you so much for joining the program is a partnership between Duke U. N. C. And Vanderbilt. How will the doulas help maternal and infant mortality rates being there? They’re helping the women have a voice at home. There’s a huge mistrust in the black community, to the medical community. They’re not trusting because they’ve been violated so often historically. So they don’t trust the providers that they have that don’t look like them. But the doulas look like them that could have the same lived experience. The doulas get the extensive training for free families, get a doula for free. With the Duke endowment will be able to train how many? 120 20 and impact how many families? 360 at the minimum. We’re at no cost. Well this is amazing and we had the chance to talk to all of them. You might be a little teary right to bring some Kleenex too many people don’t know this is happening and we think a documentary like this will change that. But the only way we can do it is if you talk to us, if you share your story with us once again, thank you for bringing the babies because we need to illustrate this that this is our future and this is who we’re doing this for. And we want to get the word out and we want the world to see that something needs to change and it needs to change right now. So moms please stand if you believe your doula helped you have a better outcome during pregnancy or childbirth. So all of you, when I was younger I was diagnosed with a muscle disorder and I was always told I would never, I’m sorry, I would never have my baby. So thank God for that. Um many moms got emotional talking about their doulas. I really am very grateful for this program. I had no knowledge of doulas of this program, of anything that was the scariest moment of my life. That was the scariest moment of my life. And just having them there, it made everything worth it. It may be having my daughter all of that pain. Everything was worth it. And I just want to thank you so much melissa when we got there, she said lily, I want you to calm down, we’re gonna go in here. You’re having this baby today. I literally would not have made it through my pregnancy or my labor without her. I’m so grateful for you. You are so much like a mother figure for real. I thank you so much. It was a powerful opportunity to hear from the doulas doulas. This next one is for you. You guys are in that room constantly about what they sometimes see and doctor’s offices and hospital rooms doulas. Please stand if you have witnessed racism in the health care setting. Well it’s all of you. And what kinds of things do you see being dismissed, especially when it comes to pain discomfort. Have you ever experienced or seen in your walls or do a lot more patients, racism in the health care profession? Yes. The most recent I think is I have had a very young mom first time and she was very, very quiet and mom was labeled as un compliant and her medical charts and I heard nurses saying, oh, she’s just another young black girl. She doesn’t know what to do with the baby and labeled her as un compliant because she wouldn’t talk to them. She wasn’t comfortable with them. Like this journey to make a difference. This is just one program across the state trying to change the system and save moms and babies. That could have been me. I think that’s probably part there’s the believe program at UNC. The goal is to train students how to check biases and listen to patients before they get jobs. We’re going into the education system And so we’re going into public and private white institutions. And then historically black colleges and universities, they often work in silos. And so Kimberly and I are bringing them together. Now. A cure for moms at U. N. C. Is a study looking at data at clinics across the state to see the outcomes of pregnant black patients and pregnant white patients. It’s really communities who know best how to fix the problem. And Cindy Mcmillan who created a community based doula program, is training doulas to work within those clinics as well. I’ve spoke this so many times that we cannot change outcomes outside of these systems. We have to be in them because not being in them is what has created such a big mess for us right now there’s another program called Cash at Duke. Cash was an effort to say Duke, do we have a problem? Dr Richard Shannon said they first analyzed their own data looking at about 35,000 deliveries over about five years. African american women were 1.8 times more likely to have a complication in their pregnancy than white women. They found it was hard for some black mobs to get to prenatal visits. For example, one high risk clinic was 2 to 3 bus rides away for some patients. So they made tweaks to when those appointments were scheduled and changed the rescheduling policy and age. New mom was assigned a special care coordinator to help address preexisting medical conditions, just instituting those two things. We saw 27% reduction in complications in pregnancy for african american moms, 27 27% 6 to 9 months of work. So this is proof that this is proof that if you define a disparity and you understand what’s driving it and you fix it, we don’t have to live this way. African american moms don’t have to live in fear of the natural event of pregnancy. The state of north Carolina has expanded Medicaid for new moms and from the time you deliver that baby until 12 months afterwards, you still have coverage and there’s a big push for insurance to reimburse for doula services if you can’t afford one does not mean you still do not deserve one federally. There is the mom the bus act introduced by congresswoman Alma Adams of north Carolina and others on the black maternal health caucus. A series of bills to address the maternal health crisis so that no baby leaves the hospital without their mommy and no mommy leaves the hospital without their baby. Adam’s almost lost her daughter and granddaughter during her daughter’s birth. She said there’s something wrong. They said that there isn’t, but I feel something is wrong and something was wrong. Each program trying to address one part of the maternal and infant health crisis just like each doula is trying to save their community, one mom and one baby at a time next day. Anna has been ready to meet her baby. Now baby is ready to meet mom. I’m Art Express. Own selection price and speed needs single vision, get two pairs for just 38 71 progressives to for 76 92. Nobody beats us guaranteed. I’m Art Express right glasses right price. Right now look for the tag 60 70 and 80% off hundreds and hundreds of rugs, furniture and accessories, many items on final clearance. Store wide clearance. Look for the tag drug and home. This third bank. Yeah, it’s a quirky name but here’s the thing five thirds equals 166.7%. So we put 166.7% into everything. We do like automatically getting your paycheck up to two days early giving you well deserved extra time to avoid overdraft fees and helping you borrow from your future self. This is making 1/5 3rd better. How do we make your glass is the same day, it’s all done in store. Our skilled text handle your glasses from start to finish getting them back the same day. Quality affordable glasses made in store only at Kmart Express. After hours of waiting and pushing. It was time we were there. As Deanna met Denver for the first time. The birth went fantastic. It was textbook. She pushed wonderfully baby was born, baby came out looking great sounding great. But after Denver was born there was a scare. We were asked to leave the room. Documentary photographer J. Jennings took this video in the hallway about 30 minutes after Deana delivered Denver, she began to hemorrhage and that’s when more doctors and nurses were called in to see if they could stop the bleeding. Doctors were able to stop the bleeding and mom and baby are okay. I’m doing great. Diana sent us this video from the hospital talking about her doula Cheryl and nurse midwife venus. They were just simply amazing. I feel like they were both heaven sent like God placed them in my life for this exact reason. She said venus was by her side during the birth and when doctors were working on her but she reassured me that she was going to make sure that I made it out of there to be able to come back and raise my son. If venice wasn’t there, I don’t think I would be sitting here holding him right now. And that’s just my honest true opinion. Diana is leaving the hospital as a mom. An indescribable feeling. We’ve got a big a feeling Ashley Richardson finally experienced as well. After losing Farrow and getting a procedure, she gave birth to a little boy. Izzy giving birth to him. It was, it was beautiful. It was beautiful. It hurt, but it was beautiful and soon three year old Izzy will have a baby brother Ezra. Ashley says she’ll always tell them both about pharaoh that it was because of him, that you guys are here, to be honest. Because again, no one was willing to look, Oh, you are so cute. Ashley and all the women who shared their stories want change. They want black moms to be heard and black moms and babies to live. Sometimes it feels like we can’t agree on anything except this. 85% of North Carolinians think abortion should be legal for women who needed TED Budd isn’t one of them. He helped write legislation to outlaw abortion nationwide with no exceptions for rape or incest. A law that could even put doctors in jail. There’s a better choice, Cheri Beasley, she’ll always protect our personal freedoms. Women vote is responsible for the content of this. Ad. I’m Wiley nickel and I approve this message. Families like mine need a congressman who will stand up to the extremes in both parties. That’s why I’m voting for Wiley nickel bo Hines is something else. He’s with far right

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Michael Bourdon


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