Dr. Dawn Owens Robinson has worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist for over 23 years.
“My grandmothers were nurses, so I volunteered throughout college and high school and wanted to give birth. It’s the greatest job in the world. It’s a miracle every time,” she remembers.
During that time, she saw black women plagued by a persistent issue that she is working to raise awareness for during Black History Month.
“Studies have shown that affluent, educated black women die at higher rates than uneducated, obese, chronically hypertensive, and diabetic white patients. This is a true health care crisis,” Robinson said.
CDC data shows that black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women.
Black women aren’t the only ones dying. Infant mortality is two and a half times higher than that of white infants. Additionally, the premature birth rate for black babies is nearly one and a half times higher than that of other babies. Health care inequities and underlying health conditions play an important role, as does mistreatment.
“Women are pooped. We’re sent home from the ER with chest pains, like, ‘Oh, you have anxiety,'” she told CBS News Colorado’s Mekialaya White, who visited her office AdventHealth Avista in Louisville. “It’s a shame we have to fight to be heard.”
So if you’re a Black mom-to-be, Robinson advises you to do your research before choosing your care team.
“Research your hospital. Find out if they have a NICU. Find out if they have 24-hour in-house anesthesia, an in-house doctor to handle emergencies 24/7,” she said. -she advised.
Or, if your finances allow, seek out a doula.
“Doulas save lives. Doulas give a voice to people who don’t feel like they can stand up to the other people in the room,” she explained.
And for those who work in healthcare, or even aspire to it, Robinson says immediate action is also needed.
“More needs to be done. I think the most important thing as providers and practitioners and midwives – I think we just need to listen and treat our patients with humanity and decency and respect and just listen. We are all human and treat that person. with respect, treat that person in your bed in your office like you would your cousin, your aunt. (We also need) more of us in the places that matter. We need more brown and black doctors, we need more brown and black nurses, we need more brown and black midwives,” she said.
Learn more about AdventHealth Avista resources here.
Note: The content and images used in this article is rewritten and sourced from www.cbsnews.com