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Why So Many Black Women Die in Pregnancy

Why So Many Black Women Die in Pregnancy

BIRMINGHAM — Angelica Lyons knew it was dangerous for Black women to give birth in America.

As a professor of public health, she educated college students on racial disparities in health. For example, Black women in America are almost three times more likely than any other race to die during or after pregnancy. Alabama, where she is from, has the third highest maternal death rate in the country.

It almost happened to her in 2019.

The first trimester of her pregnancy, which should have brought joy to the mother-to-be, quickly became a nightmare as she began experiencing debilitating pain in her stomach.

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She claimed that she was ignored by the staff and sent home several times from the hospital. Her abdominal pain was worsening and she began vomiting bile, but doctors and nurses said she had normal contractions. Angelica said she wasn’t taken seriously until a searing pain rocketed throughout her body and her baby’s heart rate plummeted.

Undiagnosed sepsis almost killed a woman who was rushed to the operating room months before she would have given birth for an urgent cesarean.

Angelica was a student at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

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