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In Sacramento County, and throughout the United States, the maternal mortality rate amongst Black families is the highest due to racial bias and discrimination. It’s time to change that, and it’s possible through policy solutions and supporting programs that directly impact the community. Because Black mothers and babies deserve to live and prosper.

At First 5 Sacramento, we want to encourage OB/GYN doctors, staff and birth practitioners to adopt a Model of Caring. This approach is aimed at reducing birth inequities among Black mothers and babies.

It’s a Systemic Issue

Man on the right holding baby while woman on the left kissing baby's right cheek

The Problem

Black Americans experience structural racism in many ways such as housing, education, economically, and through policies. During pregnancy and childbirth, Black women face additional barriers that cause chronic stress including, but not limited to:

  • Lower quality maternity care
  • Unfair treatment
  • Not being listened to when expressing fears or concerns
  • Not being included in making maternal medical decisions
  • Lack of communication received from care providers
  • The pressure to have medical interventions such as inductions and cesareans.
Woman holding up baby and looking closely

What is Happening?

Despite technological advancements, pregnancy-related deaths in the United States have more than doubled in the last 30 years. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. Black families are disproportionately impacted as the maternal death rate among Black women is 2.5 times that of White women.

To address this, we need to come together to:

  • Ensure Black women receive the same standards of care as other women to prevent infant and maternal death.
  • Foster a shift in perspective of medical professionals and other service professionals to decrease the level of stress for women that contributes to poor birth outcomes.
  • Increased awareness and understanding of bias and discrimination can help end birth inequities in Sacramento and the United States.
Family photo of three with man on the right holding baby and woman on the left

What Can We Do?

The disproportionate rate at which Black women and their babies are affected is a matter that we can no longer ignore. Black women, no matter their socio-economic status, are equally affected. It is a problem that should be addressed at the root, which is racism, bias, and inequity in the medical system.

We all have a responsibility to help advance birth outcomes for Black families that are an integral part of our communities. Together we can change structural racism, which causes toxic stress and additional barriers to improving maternal mortality. Some ways to contribute are by advocating for social justice and working to change policies that directly impact the Black community.

Birth Provider’s Model of Caring Toolkit

This toolkit is meant to support birth workers who want to implement a model of caring in their practice. Download and share the free tools below.

Model of Caring
Door Hanger

Model of Caring

Model of Caring
Birth Stories Social Media Posts

Birth Stories

Hear Real Stories from Black Women

Listen and learn about Black women that share their birth stories. These stories highlight the positive and sometimes negative, interactions with the medical care system. As a collective, we strive to provide insight into how Black women would like to be treated while interacting with the medical care system. Join us in our mission to help improve the medical system and end the disproportionate death of birthing mothers and their babies.

The Research


Black infants are dying at 2x the rate of other children


Black women are 4x as likely to die during pregnancy


Over the last 10 years, Black maternal and infant mortality has increased in the United States

Additional Resources