The Latinx community remains one of the fastest-growing minority populations in the U.S. Sadly, they have also historically been the largest uninsured demographic in America — with nearly 40% of the Latinx population living without health insurance. These numbers make it clear that Latino-Americans have suffered from a grave, yet largely ignored, public health crisis for years. What does this mean for our Latinx mamas? Well, without health insurance Latinx mothers have limited access to maternal and child healthcare services. Subsequently, data shows that Latinx women will suffer from higher rates of pregnancy complications and maternal morbidity than non-Latinx white women. A statistic that has been fueled by racism and bias in the U.S. healthcare system. Despite such alarming statistics, little to nothing has been done to address these disparities. Not only does our current healthcare system fail to address the racial biases we see in the industry, but certain policies act as additional barriers for Latinx women and other POC seeking affordable and quality maternal care. The Trump Administration’s recent attempts to reverse the Affordable Care Act has caused the number of uninsured Latinx individuals to rise above 22 million. As for Latinx women with undocumented immigration status, obtaining health insurance becomes significantly harder. Not to mention, the lack of available data on Latinx subgroups continues to hinder the progression of effective policy and programming. The maternal outcomes for Latinx women are only getting worse. Due to social stressors, racism, and bias in maternal care, and the lack of institutional change, experts expect Latinx birth outcomes to mirror those of Black women, who currently face a maternal and infant mortality crisis in the U.S. Until there is a change in the public sector, it is important for us to become educated on what steps can be taken to promote happy and healthy pregnancies on our own.
5 tips for Latinx Mamas to start taking matters into their own hands:
- Learn about local resources and connect with organizations that are working to improve outcomes among Latinas. The Center for Latina Maternal and Family Health Research at the University of Houston is one of these resources. The goal of the center is to spread awareness and improve health services delivery for Latina families. One of the center’s most recent programs has focused on providing resources for Latinx women suffering from PPD (postpartum depression). As pregnancy-related depression in this community occurs at a rate twice as high as the general population. There are many organizations out there that work to serve similar missions.
Health Connect One: Latinx Voices
4 Latinx Groups Advocating for your Health
- Look into breastfeeding organizations. Studies show that Black and Latinx babies who experience breastfeeding for less than six months face higher risks of childhood disease and premature death. With only 16% of Latinx mothers being able to exclusively breastfeed for half a year, it is imperative that breastfeeding practices are promoted in these communities.
Breastfeeding and Hispanic Health Organizations
- Protect your mental health to promote your physical health. Stress kills, and for Latinx women, daily stressors come in the form of microaggressions and anti-immigrant sentiments – which can negatively impact a woman’s fertility and childbearing abilities. Engaging in relaxing activities like yoga, mediation, and therapy can be key in reducing these stressors.
- Consider hiring a Latinx midwife or doula. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended midwifery as a viable solution to reducing maternal mortality rates. Statistically, women under the care of a midwife have reduced numbers of stillbirths and lower preterm births. Finding a midwife who shares your racial background can help personalize this experience.
- Utilize social media as a key resource. For Latinx women who struggle to find local resources or are looking to become more informed, there are a number of knowledgeable Latinx birth workers and advocates to follow on social media.
Connect with LatinX BirthWorkers on Instagram: