Erica Chidi is the co-founder and CEO of LOOM, a well-being brand empowering women through sexual and reproductive health. She has raised more than $1 million in venture capital to support this initiative. She is passionate about helping people cultivate body literacy and giving them the tools to advocate for their health and well-being. Through her book, Nurture: A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, and Early Motherhood, and her work as both a doula and health educator, she has guided thousands of people in their transition from pregnancy to parenthood.
Recently, Chidi partnered with Erica P. Cahill, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University, where she practices and teaches, to create a Maternal Guide for Black Mothers.
Why? Because the birth statistics are staggering for Black women in America. They have more than a three times higher risk of death related to pregnancy and childbirth than their white peers. This is regardless of factors like higher education and financial means, and for women over 30, the risk is as much as five times higher.
The research, however, did not explicitly call out encountering racism during pregnancy and how to tackle it.
So, the two women partnered to create an education guide that would offer pregnant Black women guidance when planning their care. It was first published in a New York Times article in October 2020. The woman shared:
- We felt it required an allied, intersectional perspective that acknowledged the importance of care providers and health educators working together on behalf of patients.
- We aimed to have a discussion with medical racism and antiracism at the center, especially since increasing evidence points to the effects of structural racism as the reason for this mortality inequity.
- We wanted to inform Black women of the unique risks they could encounter during their pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, as well as what they could do to prepare for them. This guide is meant to help Black women feel safer, and to provide a modern framework for medical providers to actively address their own racism.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Step 1: Acknowledge Race and Racism In The Room
- Step 2: Create a Care Plan Anticipating That Racism May Impact Pregnancy
- Step 3: Identify How Racism May Impact Labor
- Step 4: Identify How Racism May Impact Postpartum
(Photo below from Loom HQ)