Care Equity for Black Moms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 700 women across the United States (U.S.) die each year as a result of pregnancy-related complications. More than 60% of these deaths are preventable, and non-Hispanic Black women experience pregnancy-related deaths at a rate three times that of Non-Hispanic White women (CDC, 2019; 2021), a racial disparity that is mirrored across many maternal and infant outcomes. 

AWHONN is committed to educating health care providers about the causes and consequences of discrimination and bias in maternal health care. We challenge healthcare providers to use this video to help change mindsets around racial disparity, and to transform knowledge into actions that pave a pathway to equitable treatment for all women of color.

AWHONN thanks its partner Merck for Mothers for its support.

The production of this video was supported by a grant to AWHONN from Merck, through Merck for Mothers, the company’s global initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die while giving life. This video is the sole responsibility of its authors. Merck for Mothers is known as MSD for Mothers outside the United States and Canada.

Dismantling Racism
Saving Moms and Babies

Watch the recordings of the AWHONN Summit that explores the reasons why Black mothers continue to die in the first-year post-birth at 3-4 times the rate of all other mothers. This leaves a newborn without a mother, and a family without their cornerstone, compass, and anchor. The COVID-19 pandemic has made these longstanding inequities in health and healthcare more visible.
Equitable care thought leaders and AWHONN nurses describe specific strategies, actions such as allyship and interventions nurses can use to reduce these deadly disparities, including “holding space” for women, “listening” to women and “trusting women” when they say “something’s not right . . .”

Through these videos, you’ll:

  • Gain insight into the historical and current impact of racism as a factor in preventable Black maternal deaths and injury

  • Learn how to leverage strategic tools such as allyship and quality improvement methodologies specifically aimed at creating an anti-racist nursing workforce

  • Focus with the intention of dismantling racism and eradicating racial disparities among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

AWHONN thanks its partner Johnson’s for sponsoring this full-day event in October 2020.

When Hopes & Dreams Clash
with Racism in Healthcare


Black women who experience racism during healthcare.
(Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)


How much more likely Black women are to birth prematurely than White women.
(University of Michigan School of Public Health)


Black women die at 3-4 times the rates of other women of color and White women post-birth.

Respectful Maternity Care Resources

The Impact of Implicit Bias in Healthcare
AWHONN Insights Podcast #5

AWHONN Statement on Racism

Racism, Disparities, & Social Determinants of Health:
AWHONN Journals Collection

AWHONN Post-Birth Warning Signs

Respectful & Safe Maternity Care Evidence-Based Guideline

In 2021, AWHONN will release a “Respectful & Safe Maternity Care Evidence-Based Guideline” and accompanying toolkit. The guideline aligns with prevailing recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other maternal-child health organizations for care rooted in dignity and respect, and free from discrimination, including racism.

AWHONN thanks its partner Huggies™ for support of this resource.

Advice from Nurses for Consumers Regarding Respectful Care