Black moms from across region attend meeting to discuss fears of maternal health disparities

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh has been deemed one the most livable cities for some, but for Black women—especially those expecting—it is not. In fact, Black women in Pittsburgh are more likely to die during pregnancy than their peers in 97% of other U.S. cities.

On Tuesday afternoon, when a group of medical experts gathered to host a baby shower of resources and tools to help mothers-to-be, dozens of women showed up.

Black moms from across the region packed the Kingsley Association for Beverly’s Birthdays community baby shower, a resource event where moms share their fears, ask questions and receive important tools as they embark on their new chapter of motherhood.

“I stopped working when I was seven months because it was a lot on me My blood pressure was so high,” Aaliyah Springs, a first-time mom, said.

Springs spent more than 30 hours in labor with her baby girl.

Springs came to today’s event because she wants more children and more control over her future pregnancies, she said.

“Learning different things about safety, health and what to look for as a new mom,” was her goal for attending, Springs said.

Dr. Sharee Livingston an Ob-Gyn at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center said improving Black maternal health—where Black women are three-to-four times more likely to die during childbirth, is a priority that only can be addressed when the medical professionals listen.

“Current and historic inequalities, as well as systemic racism, all play a role ... into those disproportion rates,” Livingston said.

While licensed clinician Chaunda Cunningham said increasing representation will help improve the outcome for women of color.

“If you don’t have someone in the room that you can connect with, that is going to push you out of your mindset,” Cunningham said. “You’re not going to be able to focus as you would in the way that you would if you had someone that looked like you, someone that you respected or had shared experiences with.”