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Louisiana has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the United States with an even bleaker picture for Black women.

According to the most recent data from the Louisiana Department of Health, our state recorded 39 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Black women are particularly at risk. That same data shows that Black mothers are 2 ½ times more likely to die during or after birth. Nationally, for all mothers, the average is 23.5 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Lack of access to quality health care, racial disparities, and social determinants of health are all factors in Louisiana’s poor maternal health outcomes. To combat these dismal numbers, the Louisiana Department of Health, along with private organizations and advocacy groups have developed solutions they believe will improve the state’s maternal health outcomes.

Helping us explore the issue are:

  • Dr. Veronica Gillespie-Bell – LaPQC at LDH, Medical Director; Board-Certified OBGYN
  • Latona Giwa – Birthmark Doula Collective, Cofounder
  • Maeve Wallace, PhD – Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiologist, Tulane University

Kara St. Cyr, co-anchor of LPB’s weekly news magazine Louisiana: The State We’re In will host.