The test result confirms that the stork will be arriving at your door step with a special delivery in nine months. Naturally, you’ll want to be in your very best health and as fit as possible for you and your baby. The joy of motherhood is unparalleled, beyond words, and having a happy and healthy baby is a joy to all parents.
But, as quiet as it is kept, there is a crisis in African American maternal and infant mortality. Yes, in 2019, black infants and mothers die at stunningly disproportionate rates. Black women in the United States are more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes more than other women in the developed world.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African American women experience pregnancy related deaths at a rate 3 to 4 times that of white women, and black infants are more than twice as likely to die as white infants. Statistics also show that even education and income offer little protection for pregnant black women.
In response to this crisis, two local social justice warrior moms, Asasiya Muhammed, a certified professional midwife (CPM) and owner of the Inner Circle Midwifery, and Delisa Roman, a certified personal trainer and owner of Fit Moms of Philly, have come together to help black mothers prevent or manage threats as well as create holistic and compassionate care before, during, and after pregnancy.
I sat down and chatted with these two determined, dynamic, and devoted sisters on tackling these hard issues.
R: Well, the first thing I’d do is advise expectant moms to stay off of Instagram.
M: I agree. Many women are spending a lot of time on social media, which can trigger feeling of insecurity and feeling bad about yourself. African American women are especially vulnerable because we are also dealing with trans-generational effects of racism.
R: I recommend everyone initially go to a nutritionist. If you’re not already doing so, you want to establish habits of healthy eating. It’s all about fuel over flavor.
M: I advocate “qualitarianism.” For example, stay away from the dirty dozen, but do eat the clean 15 and eat the rainbow. Stay away from coffee, caffeine in general, but do drink plenty of water. I would also recommend taking food-based prenatal vitamins, beginning at the age of 18. Doing so will help to keep hormones balanced and boost the immune system.
R: Endurance is really important when you are pregnant. I recommend working out three days a week, doing lots of pelvic exercises as well as pelvic floor work.
M: A pregnant woman’s body works harder than anyone. A pregnant woman should get 8 to 10 hours of sleep per day. Even during the day, she should have restful periods or take a 30 minute nap.
R: A lot of women are sleep deprived. We need to cut off those devises at bedtime and place the phone on the other side of the room.