In the expansive landscape of Northern California, a stark reality looms; there are no black-run birth centers. This absence not only creates barriers for aspiring Black midwives but is deeply entrenched in systemic issues. Against the backdrop of current Black maternal health rates, this void is unfortunate and glaringly significant.
According to Californians for the Advancement of Midwifery, approximately 550 licensed midwives practice in California, with a meager 13 of them being Black. This staggering statistic highlights the pressing need for diversity in the field, especially considering that Black midwives make up only 7% of the total Certified Nurse-Midwives/Certified Midwives in the US, as reported by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
Systematic racism plays a central role in health disparities, making it imperative to address this deficiency in Black birth centers. The midwifery model of care, deeply rooted in relationship-based practices, emphasizes intentional and intimate connections between providers and patients, crucial for achieving optimal health outcomes.
Increasing the number of Black midwives is a pivotal step in dismantling the systemic vices leading to high maternal death rates and negative health outcomes within the Black community. Diversity in midwifery holds the potential to reduce bias in maternal healthcare, fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for Black women during childbirth.
The deficit of Black birth centers in Northern California is a call to action, and I hope to be part of the initiative to change this narrative. With the support of my community, organizations, and a collective commitment to maternal health, we can bridge the divide and pave the way for the establishment of Black birth centers. Through collaborative efforts, we aim to create a reality where Black midwives are integral contributors to improving birth outcomes for Black women and babies.
“Guiding Birth, Nurturing Life”