Black women die giving birth at alarmingly higher rates than our white counterparts. We also face greater complications and are often not believed by our healthcare providers when we mention our discomforts and pain. This issue was most recently brought to light when both Serena Williams and Beyonce openly discussed their birth scare and pregnancy complications. California has just taken new steps to close the gap in pregnancy health care biases.
Last week Governor Gavin Newsome signed Senate Bill No. 464 to address this issue. The California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act, which was authored by Senator Holly Mitchell and co-authored by Assembly Members Shirley Weber and Lorena Gonzalez, will require California hospitals and clinics to implement bias training for ALL healthcare providers working in the perinatal services.
It doesn’t stop there. After participating in the bias training, providers are required to take a “refresher” course every 2 years. It will also require more transparency from California’s health department, which will now have to track and publish additional data regarding pregnancy-related deaths and severe maternal morbidity.
Pregnancy-related deaths can happen up to a year after a person gives birth. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are fully preventable with causes being infection or