Black Breastfeeding Week: Disparities in access to maternity care are alarming
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Breastfeeding Disparities Exist. Infographic courtesy of AmeriHealth Caritas.
Stark racial disparities exist between black and white infants in the
Despite the news, there is a healthy, cost-effective strategy to help reduce infant mortality: Breastfeeding.
“There are many factors that contribute to the low black breastfeeding rate,”
The CDC’s Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC) survey found that hospitals and health clinics in communities with more than a 12.2 percent black population were less likely to be supportive of breastfeeding.4
Comparing facilities in areas with more than 12.2 percent black residents with facilities in areas with less than 12.2 percent black residents, the largest differences were in the percentage of facilities that implemented recommended practices related to helping mothers initiate breastfeeding early on (46 percent compared with 59.9 percent), having infants spend the majority of their time in the same room as their moms (27.7 percent compared with 39.4 percent), and limiting what infants eat or drink to only breast milk (13.1 percent compared with 25.8 percent), according to the
An international study found that breastfeeding for at least two months cuts a baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) almost in half, and the longer babies are breastfed, the greater the protection.6 Breast milk is good nutrition for a baby, providing all the proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that a young body needs to stay healthy.7 Infants who are breastfed have a lower risk of developing asthma, Type 2 diabetes, eczema, and obesity.8 For premature infants, breast milk can be lifesaving, according to the
AmeriHealth Caritas works with local breastfeeding advocacy groups to promote awareness about breastfeeding to expectant mothers in historically disadvantaged communities. The organization’s Bright Start® maternity program hosts Moms2B community baby showers where expectant mothers can connect with local social service organizations and resources, including lactation specialists. The goal of Bright Start® is to improve birth outcomes and reduce pregnancy-related complications through early prenatal education and intervention.
“We have to work to help ensure that there is equal access to prenatal care and lactation programs and to help ensure that there are policies and practices to support women’s breastfeeding goals during prenatal care, during the maternity stay and after the birth,”
About AmeriHealth Caritas
AmeriHealth Caritas is one of the nation’s leaders in health care solutions for those most in need. Operating in 11 states and the
1 What Is the Status of Women’s Health and Health Care in the
2 Infant Mortality and African Americans. https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=23
3 Breastfeeding Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/facts.html
4 Racial Disparities in Access to Maternity Care Practices That Support Breastfeeding –
5 Racial Disparities in Access to Maternity Care Practices That Support Breastfeeding –
6 Breastfeeding for two months halves risk of SIDS. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171030123401.htm
7 The Two Best Ways to Reduce Infant Mortality. https://healthcareinamerica.us/the-two-best-ways-to-reduce-infant-mortality-eb37bc076a31
8 The Surgeon General’s
Source: AmeriHealth Caritas