First-time mom, her doctor talk about Black Maternal Health and the disparities

Shirleen Allicot Image
Monday, April 15, 2024
First-time mom, her doctor talk about Black Maternal Health
Shirleen Allicot has the story on maternal health disparities.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- This week is Black Maternal Health Week.

It highlights the disparity pregnant women of color face when it comes to trying to have healthy, safe pregnancies, and deliveries.

Black women are three times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related issues.

Doctors believe four out of five of those deaths are preventable.

Eyewitness News Anchor Shirleen Allicot visited Mount Sinai West to sit down with a first-time mother, her doctor, and the head of Labor and Delivery at the hospital who is working to make pregnancy safer.

"You said when you saw those statistics you were really surprised?" Allicot asked.

"I was really surprised. Having a child wasn't really on my radar and then when it became on my radar, I realized there are things I have to learn myself to learn what my concerns and my needs are. And then also, what are the greater issues within healthcare and how do those issues apply to me?" said Paulette Thompson, a first-time mom.

Shirleen Allicot looks at what's next in the fight against maternal mortality.

"Tell me about this pregnancy and your journey to finding this fabulous doctor," Allicot said.

"Well, it started about six to nine months before I even knew that I wanted to be pregnant just researching the doctors that I had available to me through my insurance in order to see if there was a doctor I could make a connection with. And when I say make a connection, I mean find a doctor who looked like me and understood the experiences that I was going through," Thompson said.

"What do you think of everything Paulette just shared?" Allicot asked.

"It was so insightful and very much true. All of it. Still, in 2024, we still have black maternal mortality rates, and the way she did it is how it should be done. You have to partner with someone who does trust you, who listens to you, and who will help you along that journey and that's what I think some patients don't do. And I think that has a big impact on some of the outcomes if you can have that person as your advocate as well," said Dr. Valerie Lewis-Morris, Mount Sinai.

"How often do you see women seeking you out specifically because you look like them?" Allicot asked.

"Almost every day. Almost every single day a patient will come in and tell me they have been looking for a doctor of color for that reason that someone knows that when you sit down and talk to me I already know where you are without even saying anything. That happens every day," Lewis-Morris said.


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