Open Journal Systems

The most unprotected person in America: The African, American woman, maternal and infant mortality

Victoria Ayoola


African American maternal and infant mortality are at disproportionate rates. The United States is deemed one of most dangerous developed nations for birthing. According to the CDC, in 2018 the United States reported a rate of 5.7 in 1,000 live births. Non-Hispanic black infant deaths accounted for 10.8 per 1,000 live births compared to non-Hispanic white infants at 4.6 per 1,000 live births. African American woman and infants die of complications at an alarming rate.

There are contributions to the disparate birthing outcomes of African Americans beyond genetics, poverty, economic status, and education level. The history of institutional conduct toward black women proposes that there are social and systemic contributions to racial disparities in birthing outcomes.  With literature that suggest inadequate acute and chronic pain assessment of racial and ethnic minorities, and influencers of modern gynecology that submit to limited evidence to rationalize procedures devoid of epidural, it is evident that the healthcare system, to date, places African American women and infants at the bottom. 


It is imperative to uncover the mistreatment, discrimination and otherwise insufficient social training of healthcare providers for the care African American woman and infants. An increased obligation towards both nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic methods to better serve African American women is necessary. The nation needs to arrive at the core of determinants. today and in history, that has led to such outcomes.



African American; Infant mortality; Disproportionate; United States; Systemic


Addario, L. (2018, December 13). Can the lives of mothers giving birth be saved? Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Child Mortality. Retrieved from

Chiu, A. (2018, August 7). Beyoncé, Serena Williams open up about potentially fatal childbirths, a problem especially for black mothers. Retrieved from

Hoffman, K. M., Trawalter, S., Axt, J. R., & Oliver, M. N. (2016, April 19). Racial bias in pain assessment and treatment recommendations, and false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites. Retrieved from

Klee, R. (2017). The ‘father of modern gynecology’ performed shocking experiments on slaves. Retrieved from

Maternal mortality. Retrieved from

Meshdesign. Home Page: Every Mother Counts (EMC): Improving Maternal Health. Retrieved from

Miller, L. J., & Lu, W. These Are the Economies With the Most (and Least) Efficient Health Care. Retrieved from

Mossey, J. M. (2011, July). Defining racial and ethnic disparities in pain management. Retrieved from

Roberts, D. E. (2017). Killing the black body: race, reproduction, and the meaning of liberty. New York: Vintage Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Stieg, C. (2020, February 22). It's 'almost free' to have a baby in Finland-and feels like 'the whole country is providing for a child'. Retrieved from

World is failing newborn babies, says UNICEF. (2018, February 20). Retrieved from

Full Text: PDF

Article Level Metrics


  • There are currently no refbacks.