137: Healthier Birth Outcomes from Black Moms and Babies


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Why are birth outcomes for black women in the US so much different than for white women? The statistics are shocking, and we should all be concerned about this disparity. What can be done about it? Today’s show dives deep into the problem and possible solutions.

Alexandra Samuel-Sturgess, LCSW, is passionate about possible solutions to empower black women when it comes to better health care and better birth outcomes. Alex is someone I work with personally, and she’s an awesome advocate and therapist. She’s the founder of Spirited by Truth, a private practice located in Ontario, CA, and she specializes in perinatal mental health. She creates a safe space in her practice for black women to focus on their healing. Alex is an aunt to an angel baby and the sister of a postpartum depression survivor. Spirited by Truth came to fruition due to the overwhelming need to provide holistic pregnancy and postpartum mental health services catered to the needs of black women. Alex is passionate about prenatal and postpartum education and providing culturally responsive treatment for black women seeking mental health services. She is a Postpartum Support International coordinator for San Bernardino county and is a black maternal mental health advocate. At Spirited by Truth, she provides education, community, and support for expecting black mothers to assist in the fight toward healthier birth outcomes for black women and infants.

Show Highlights:

  • Statistics for black birth outcomes in the US: black women are 4X more likely to die in childbirth, 30% of black women experience perinatal mental health crises, and 60% of these don’t receive any treatment or support
  • Reasons why black women don’t receive treatment or support as often as white women
  • The focus on finding solutions
  • Solutions we can address for improvement of the situation:
    • Finding things black women CAN control in the childbirth process
    • Finding healthy ways to manage chronic stress
    • Eliminating the taboo for black women who seek mental health treatment
  • How black women can be empowered in asking for a black nurse or Ob
  • The need for education in healthier lifestyles, especially on nutrition and exercise
  • Education about the birthing options, like home births and birth centers
  • Alex’s sister’s birth experience
  • Leapfrog ratings of hospitals across the country
  • Why the infant mortality rate is higher, because of misinformation and lack of education about SIDS
  • Simple dangers of crib bedding and stuffed animals that are normalities in black families
  • How we can give current and updated information to empower black women
  • Why black women need to ask for support and learn self-compassion
  • Why black women fall prey to the “Superwoman” syndrome
  • The need for culturally responsive services for black women
  • Alex’s “Spirited Mama Tribe”--the support circle for black women, including workshops, CPR training, and doula/midwife services
  • Why black women need help in managing preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, chronic stress, and hypertension



Find Alex on Instagram and Facebook: @spiritedbytruth



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