In February’s issue of Vogue Serena Williams spoke about how she almost died after birth. She spoke about not being unable to breathe. She knew her body since she has a history of blood clots and asked for a CT scan with contrast and IV heparin. The doctor first brought in an ultrasound and she insisted that she needed a CT scan with contrast as well as an IV Heparin. Finally, she was given the CT scan and it showed SEVERAL blood clots in her lungs which required emergency surgery to correct.

maternal health Amber Razmus
Photo Credit: Vogue

Kyira Adele Dixon was the daughter-in-law to Judge Glenda Hatchett.  She passed away in April 2016 due to complications from her c-section. She had internal bleeding and the doctors didn’t tend to it in a timely manner. Her husband and Judge Hatchett have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital.

Activist Erica Garner at the age of 27 had an enlarged heart that she learned about during pregnancy. She suffered a heart attack after an asthma episode and was placed in a medically induced coma. She passed away at the end of 2017 after complications from her pregnancy

Sadly, 830 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications every day around the world. That’s about 303,000 a year. The majority of the women die from hemorrhage, deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots. In the United States, about 700 women die from pregnancy or childbirth complications and 60,000 suffer from near-fatal complications. That said, Black women in the United States are about three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy or delivery complications than white women. That’s 243% MORE LIKELY.

How can we help improve maternal health among Black women in the U.S.?

Ask Questions

We need to ask questions when it comes to our health. Doctors will advise you on the course of action whether it’s an induction, c-section, etc. It’s up to us to ask, ‘Why is this necessary?’ or ‘Can we wait to do this procedure?’ These follow up questions can mean the difference between life and death. Do not let the doctor rush you into anything you may not understand or want.


With the doctors’ recommendations in hand it’s time to research. Take as much time as you need to read up on the suggested procedure. Know the pros, cons, and alternatives if any exist. If you have more questions call or email your physician. Being armed with knowledge will help you choose the best course of action that will benefit both you and your baby.

Being Our Own Advocate

As a plus-size woman sometimes my concerns were pushed off as “ You feel that way because of your weight”. I fought for my care. I had them run a test to prove it wasn’t weight-related conditions that was causing my pain. While I was in labor I was given Pitocin and I made sure to ask, “How much dosage are you starting with?” “When will you up the dosage?” “How long can I be on this drip before the talk of a c-section comes up?”  I am no doctor but through asking questions and prior reading, I discovered the information I needed to better equip myself to be my own healthcare advocate.

Don’t Take No For An Answer

If you don’t feel like your questions aren’t being answered or your pain isn’t being taken seriously let it be known. Demand to get the proper care you deserve. If you’re still not satisfied look into switching doctors. Do not take no for an answer. Do not think you don’t have options. And most of all, do not let anyone make you suffer in silence.

I wish I could end this blog with additional ways to combat these staggering statistics. Sadly, the truth is that black women are dying in record numbers due to racial bias, stressors that no other race deal with, living in poorer neighborhoods, etc. Many people don’t know the stats and that it affects black women from all walks of life. It’s my hope this post sheds some light on this subject so that we can do everything in our power to make sure we are taking care of ourselves and each other. We have to be each other’s village, we have to take care of us in order to take care of the next generation.

maternal health Amber Razmus

Thank you for reading. What are some additional ways that we make sure doctors are taking our maternal health seriously? Do you have a story to share where your medical needs weren’t taken seriously?

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Amber strives to be an open book and share her love of family, fashion, and beauty. She loves to share her experiences as a mother, wife and plus size woman in her lifestyle blog and YouTube channel. No topic is off limits. Fashion and being plus sized, Surviving PPD, being married for over a decade, dealing with infertility and PCOS and using humor and love as a means to encourage those who are going through the same thing. You can catch her on YouTube (FloridaNatural83) and Instagram @Theambernycole.
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