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'Power Mom' | Scripps researcher promotes study aiming to help Black maternal health

"Especially pregnant people of color who experience these mortalities and morbidities, they now have a way to feel heard and feel seen and not be scared."

SAN DIEGO — In December last year, Vice President Kamala Harris issued a nationwide Call to Action to improve maternal health outcomes for parents and infants and more recently renewed its commitment to addressing the maternal mortality and morbidity crisis.

According to The White House website, America’s maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the developed world.

The website states, "It’s particularly devastating for black women who are more than three times as likely to die from pregnancy related complications as white women. Black, American Indian and Alaska Native women are also more likely to develop complications like preeclampsia, pregnancy-induced hypertension and gestational diabetes."

Scripps researcher Dr. Lase Ajayi, a physician scientist says she dealt with racism when she was pregnant with her daughter. 

"When you see a Black woman in labor, you have a lot of preconceived notions. It was directly related to the color of my skin. It was uncomfortable because I'm pretty educated, but I was too scared to make a voice and I was vulnerable and in pain," said Dr. Ajayi. 

This experience inspired the University of Kansas alum to lead an innovative study called “Power Mom," a research effort that aims to build communities of pregnant study participants.

"Especially pregnant people of color who experience these mortalities and morbidities, they now have a way to feel heard and feel seen and not be scared. This allows us to actually engage more pregnant people in research and those have been marginalized or under represented in research and bring the research to them," said Dr. Ajayi. 

You can take part by heading to the Power Mom website here

"We can change the way caregivers provide to pregnant people, so we can all have healthy pregnancies and happy, healthy babies," said Dr. Ajayi. 

WATCH RELATED: Black women's maternal health impacted by racism, Vice President Harris weighs in on issue (April 2021).