Why Do Black Babies Have Twice The Infant Mortality Rate?


African American baby boy

Black babies are succumbing to infant mortality at double the rate of White babies across the nation. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the national infant mortality rate is 6%, Whites come in at 5.1% , while 11.1% of Black babies are dying. Why are our babies dying at such a high rate?

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The healthcare disparities in the Black community are vast. The lack of quality healthcare access combined with hereditary factors are the reasons why many believe Black women are suffering so greatly from this problem. Venus Standard, a certified nurse midwife (CNM) and  lamaze certified childbirth educator, says the answer to problem has many layers.

“The health care challenges of an African American woman are multifaceted. The sequelae of complication can increase drastically when pregnancy is added into the equation. While some challenges are a result of their inability to access quality health care, others are a direct result of lifestyle choices, i.e., obesity, hypertension and diabetes or toxic substances abuse such as smoking, alcohol or drugs,” Standard explained to BlackDoctor.org. “There’s not a whole lot you can do about your hereditary challenges, and while socioeconomic restraints can limit your ability to change your physical environment, we all have the ability to make conscious lifestyle choices.”

Conscious lifestyle choices during pregnancy are what experts like Standard believe are key for a healthy baby. Standard shared with BlackDoctor.org four things Black women can do before birth to help ensure a healthy baby:

1. Diet

Trips to Popeyes and your favorite greasy spoons have got to stop, ladies. This childbirth educator says that you should “Eat little to no fried and/or fast foods and increase your fruits and vegetables. Also, make sure to  stay hydrated with water and keep an eye on portion control.”

2. Exercise

Breaks out those running shoes and that Nike warmup suit that you only wore to look to cute in. Even though you’re pregnant you can still get a nice sweat in. Standard said ,”This can be as simple as walking for 30 minutes 3-4 time per week. “