Birth Justice

Research on Racism and Maternal Health

In the days following George Floyd’s murder, I had the honor of connecting with Ihotu Ali, MPH, LMT, CLC, an EBB Professional Member and the co-founder of the Minnesota Healing Justice Network, about their work on the front lines in Minneapolis. Ihotu and other members of the Minnesota Healing Justice Network, including Daniela Montoya-Barthelemy, MPH; Shayla Walker; Rhonda Fellow, CD (DONA), EBB Instructor; and Jennifer Almanza, DNP, APRN, CNM, made the following suggestion: 

EBB should work to make the research evidence on racism and maternal health more readily accessible to our audience.

We greatly appreciate the suggestion from the members of the Minnesota Healing Justice Network. Moving forward you can expect EBB to regularly share especially poignant research findings about Black maternal health.

Please remember that *RACISM* and white supremacy are the cause of any racial disparities. And remember that there ARE known solutions… Black midwives, Black doulas, and Black nurses hold the key!! Black midwives such as Jennie Joseph and Uzazi Village and Mamatoto Village and Jamaa Birth Village, and San Antonio Nurse Midwife, among so many others, are living proof that we can eliminate and reduce disparities under their leadership. Read and share the research, but recognize the opportunities for justice and equity.



Source: Giscombé, C. L. and Lobel, M. (2005). Explaining Disproportionately High Rates of Adverse Birth Outcomes Among African Americans: The Impact of Stress, Racism, and Related Factors in Pregnancy. Psychological Bulletin, 131(5), 662-683. Click here.

Gyamfi-Bannerman, C., Srinivas, S. K., Wright, J. D., et al. (2018). Postpartum hemorrhage outcomes and race. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 219(2), 185.e1–185.e10. Source.

Josephs, L. L. and Brown, S. E. (2017). The JJ WAY®: Community-based Maternity Center Final Evaluation Report. Visionary Vanguard Group, Inc. Accessed July 2, 2020. Available online.

Recommended Resources


Birth Justice Organizations

On this page, you can find an ongoing list of both local and national birth justice organizations led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We encourage you to follow and support these organizations in whatever way you can. If you wish to add a local birth justice organization to this list, please use the contact form below.


Black Mamas Matter Alliance | Visit

Black Mamas ATX | Visit

National Association to Advance Black Birth | Visit

National Black Midwives Alliance | Visit

National Black Doulas Association™ | Visit

National Birth Equity Collaborative | Visit

Southern Birth Justice Network | Visit

Sister Song | Visit

Black Women Birthing Justice | Visit

By State

California: Diversity Uplifts | Visit

California: For the Village | Visit

California: SisterWeb San Francisco Community Doula Network | Visit

Hawai’i: Birth Professionals of Oahu | Visit

Illinois: Chicago Birthworks Collective | Visit

Illinois: Chicago Volunteer Doulas | Visit

Illinois: HealthConnect One | Visit

Kentucky: Louisville Doula Project | Visit

Louisana: Community Birth Companion | Visit

Louisana: Birthmark Doulas | Visit

Massachusetts: MA COVID-19 Perinatal Coalition | Visit

Michigan: Mothering Justice | Visit

Minnesota: MN Healing Justice Network | Visit

Missouri: Jamaa Birth Village | Visit

Missouri: Uzazi Village | Visit

New York: Ancient Song Doula Services | Visit

New York: Cihuapahtli Matriarch Council | Visit

North Carolina: SistasCaring4Sistas | Visit

Rhode Island: Our Journ3i | Visit

Tennessee: Choices: Memphis Center for Reproductive Health | Visit

Tennessee: Homeland Heart Birth & Wellness Collective | Visit

Texas: Re+Birth Equity Alliance | Visit

Texas: Giving Austin Labor Support | Visit

Texas: The Natural Way Birthing Project ~ Fort Worth | Visit

Virginia: Urban Baby Beginnings| Visit

Washington D.C. Mamatoto Village | Visit

From Rebecca

A Personal Message From Rebecca

Reading the news these days, I continue to be horrified that the country I live in still brutalizes and murders people with Black bodies. My heart goes out to all of you who are suffering and grieving and reliving trauma right now. The fact that these things still happen and are covered up in the year 2020 is an absolute travesty.

Racism in the U.S. doesn’t just take the form of murder. It also significantly impacts maternal health outcomes (leading to 3-4 times higher death rates for Black mothers and babies), as well as creates racial injustices everywhere we live and work and educate our children.

Below are Evidence Based Birth® resources I wanted to share with you, as you continue anti-racism and birth justice work.

– Rebecca

My Responsibility As A White Woman

This is a personal video message about my responsibilities as a white woman. I recorded this message in the days following George Floyd’s murder. You can watch that message in the embedded video below, or on our Instagram Stories Highlights under ‘Responsibilities’ at our Instagram page @ebbirth.

Personal Message from Rebecca – May 2020 from Evidence Based Birth on Vimeo.

Chapter 8: Woke - from Babies Are Not Pizzas

Read Chapter 8 of Rebecca’s book, Babies Are Not Pizzas, which addresses the negative impact of racism on maternity care. This chapter falls in the middle of the book, and so the middle of Rebecca’s journey through becoming awakened to the many systemic and structural issues our healthcare system faces.

Click Here to Read Chapter 8: Woke

The EBB Podcasts, featuring BIPOC guests

Hear stories and experiences from BIPOC guests on the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast.

Do you know about a Birth Justice organization or class?

Tell us about it!

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