A new study has found that Black women are more at risk of experiencing a miscarriage, also known as a pregnancy loss. Published by over a dozen researchers and medical professionals, data suggests that Black ethnicity places women at risk for a miscarriage. The new study, coupled with recent concerns over Black maternal health and maternal mortality, exposes a terrifying truth for Black women.
On Monday, The Lancet published the study, which is a part of a series called “Miscarriage matters.” Researchers sought to collect data to understand miscarriages and what risk factors can contribute to them. Defined in the article as “the loss of a pregnancy before viability,” miscarriage occurs on average 44 times every minute, making it a lot less rare than most people believe.
According to the new study, several risk factors can contribute to miscarriage, including previous miscarriages, alcohol use, exposure to pesticides, stress, and even working night shifts. When it comes to ethnicity, researchers found that Black women are more at risk than white women.
“Black ethnicity is associated with a higher risk of miscarriage when compared with White ethnicity,” the study reads, adding to a growing national concern over Black maternal health. In 2000, a study titled “Alarming Racial Differences in Maternal Mortality” discovered that Black women are two to six times more likely to die from pregnancy complications.
More recently, the CDC revealed that Black women are three to four times more likely to have a pregnancy-related death when compared to white women. Potential explanations for the gap include racism or bias in the medical field and a lack of access to a higher quality of care due to socioeconomic reasons.
In 2018, the New York Times chronicled the story of a young Black mother who tried to voice her concerns to doctors. After telling her doctor about her debilitating headaches and swollen face, she was met with a physician that “brushed aside her complaints,” recommending a dose of Tylenol. Likely suffering from pre-eclampsia, she later discovered that her blood pressure was through the roof and ended up giving birth to a stillborn.
President Joe Biden highlighted the issue for Black Maternal Health Week in April, calling it a crisis. “Vice President Harris and I are committed to pursuing systemic policies that provide comprehensive, holistic maternal health care that is free from bias and discrimination,” he wrote in a proclamation. “The morbidity and mortality disparities that Black mothers face are not the results of isolated incidents. Our Nation must root out systemic racism everywhere it exists,”
Hopefully, more awareness on the issue will allow a change in how Black women are treated in the medical field.