How Does Differing Access to Postpartum Care Between Black and White Mothers in California Impact Maternal Mortality Disparities?


by : 
Dominique L.


The United States has the highest rates of pregnancy-related deaths among all developed countries. Although most pregnancy-related deaths are considered preventable, Black mothers are around three times more likely to die from complications than their white counterparts, and this gap increases with age. This paper examines the difference in access and utilization of postpartum care between Black and White mothers in California, and if these numbers correlate with higher or lower rates of late maternal death. By analyzing CDC Wonderbase and other pre-existing data, findings will provide information about the most common barriers to postpartum care, if these barriers are different between Black and White mothers, and if differing rates of postpartum care between Black and White mothers affect mortalities in the postpartum stage. Out of every stage in the maternal cycle, the postpartum stage has been one of the least researched, even though over half of all maternal deaths occur in the postpartum stage. The findings of this study will help inform future initiatives to close the disparities between maternal deaths by addressing barriers to postpartum care.