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How Racism Impacts Pregnancy Outcomes

Racism Impacts Pregnancy

In the video, the vulnerable population described are the African American women and also includes those women infants who are also affected by racial discrimination before and after birth. Dr. Michael Lu, a gynecologist, did describe those women as vulnerable by arguing out that many women if subjected to racism over their lifetime, but not particularly during the nine months of pregnancy, could impact negatively during their delivery. He thinks that these women and their children continue to suffer because the society still views infant mortality rate as a consequence of socioeconomic factors affecting the black families in the United States (Mama, 2008).   

Other two neonatologists, James Collins and Richard David (2008), also lauded Dr. Michael’s argument when they come up to a conclusion during their study that; the African American mothers are more likely to give birth to underweight babies, a fact attributed to their past injustices of racism. In other words, they asserted that racism is taking a heavy toll even before they are born. Because of racism, Dr. Michael explained that infant mortality rate of white women with college grades stands at 3.7% per thousand women, but at 10.5% per thousand women and that college class black women experience the worse infant mortality rate than the white women without college grades (Mama, 2008).  Black women lawyers, doctors, engineers record the highest infant mortality rate than their counterparts who drop out of college.

Racism comes with stress that leads to various health risks because of poor availability to health care amenities and proper professional advice on how to manage the stress associated with racism to those mothers and their families. The doctor explained that racism stress causes the body to wear and tear off, poor body adaptation to challenges, hormonal imbalances, inflammatory malfunctions and metabolic infections which in turn results to an overload of the body system. While conducting the research, Dr. Michael argued that throughout the day both the blood pressure of a white and a black patient stands the same, while at night white woman pressure will drop but the blood pressure stays the same for a black woman. He later attributed this to the stress the African American people endure as a result of racism (Mama, 2008).  Because of racism, those women resolve to alcoholism, drug abuse, lack of exercise, and lack of food or poor diet to escape from the stress associated with racial discrimination. At the end of it, they face medical complication related to those practices thereby resulting to low birth weight and infant mortality rates.

The most significant way to avoid the barriers those women experience is by first tackling the issue of racism and to improve their pregnancy outcomes, we need to start taking care of the women at risk all over the period of their lifetime beginning with conception, through adulthood, adolescence, adulthood, and motherhood. In other words, taking care of women and their households throughout their lives. The government institutions and agencies, health delivery systems, well-wishers and other support groups should also help the fight against racial discrimination (Mama, 2008). 

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