Nurses Aim to Decrease Gaps in Black Maternal Health

3 Min Read Published February 27, 2024
Nurses Aim to Decrease Gaps in Black Maternal Health

Podcast Episode

>>Listen to Nurses Aim to Decrease Gaps in Black Maternal Health with Cheyenne Starner and Sierra Woods 


This episode of the Nurse Converse Podcast with Midwife Cheyenne Starner, MSN, CNM, and guest Sierra Woods, RN, IBCLC, who is a nurse and lactation consultant focuses on various aspects of maternal health, wellness, and postpartum care as well as the disparities that exist particularly within the Black community. The hosts emphasize the necessity of diversifying healthcare providers to better meet the needs of communities, especially within the Black community. It underscores the importance of mental health support, acknowledging the barriers faced by vulnerable groups and the inadequacy of available resources. Throughout the discussion, the hosts stress the value of therapy for new parents, regardless of specific concerns, and highlight the urgency of addressing maternal mental health issues.

Key Takeaways

Key takeaways from the discussion include,

  • The necessity of diversifying healthcare providers, especially within maternal health. 
  • Recognizing the critical role of psychiatric mental health professionals. The hosts underscore the barriers faced by vulnerable populations and stress the importance of therapy and mental health support for all new parents. 
  • They highlight the significance of listening to the experiences of new moms and Black people, alongside the pressing need to address maternal mental health and mortality rates.
  • Accessible lactation care is crucial, especially for Medicaid recipients.
  • Postpartum care remains important for at least a year after childbirth.
  • Prioritizing prenatal and preconception health is key for a healthy pregnancy.
  • Midwives and doulas play crucial roles in maternal health.
  • High costs render maternal wellness retreat centers inaccessible for many.
  • Racism and bias in healthcare contribute to elevated maternal mortality rates among Black women.
  • Events and education are pivotal for raising awareness about maternal health.
  • Paid family and maternity leave is indispensable for supporting new parents.

Representation Matters

An overarching theme is the need for more representation of caregivers who reflect the diversity of the communities they serve, particularly in the area of maternal health. The hosts draw attention to the concerning trend of worsening maternal mortality rates in the U.S., and especially within the Black community, emphasizing the need for immediate action. 

In fact, according to the CDC website Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than White women.

Lactation Support

The discussion shifts to Sierra’s lactation care business, highlighting the absence of Medicaid coverage for lactation services in Indiana. Consequently, she established a nonprofit to secure grant funding for these services, emphasizing the critical role of postpartum care, including lactation support.

Emphasizing breastfeeding as a unique journey, Sierra stresses the necessity of lactation care throughout the breastfeeding experience, tailored to individual challenges and circumstances. With breastfeeding duration varying greatly, from months to years, personalized support is crucial at every stage, including weaning.

Additionally, Sierra highlights the importance of prenatal education, recommending lactation courses during pregnancy to ensure preparedness. This proactive approach aims to prevent feelings of overwhelm or confusion when beginning breastfeeding.

Prenatal and Postpartum Care Importance

Furthermore, the discussion delves into the importance of prenatal and postpartum care, lactation support, and the accessibility of resources. Collaboration among healthcare professionals is emphasized as crucial for improving maternal health outcomes. Additionally, the hosts advocate for policies such as paid family leave and address the pervasive issues of racism and bias in healthcare.

This podcast episode underscores the importance of providing support, education, and resources for new parents, while also advocating for systemic changes to address socio-economic and racial disparities to improve maternal health outcomes. The hosts stress the importance of self-care for caregivers, the significance of maternal mental health, and the availability of virtual support resources. Throughout the conversation, there is a strong emphasis on the need to create a supportive community for all parents, irrespective of background or circumstances.

Connect With Cheyenne on social media:

Instagram: @midwife_chey

TikTok: midwife_chey

Youtube video

Cheyenne Starner
Cheyenne Starner
Host, Nurse Converse Podcast

Meet Cheyenne Starner, a dedicated certified nurse midwife based in Indianapolis. Beyond the world of women's health, Cheyenne finds joy in all things related to beauty and aesthetics. Her passion for women's empowerment is reflected not only in her professional life but also in her love for inspiring artists like Beyoncé. When not supporting women, Cheyenne can be found immersed in music, enjoying audiobooks, trying new restaurants with her friends, and exploring the richness of different cultures through travel. Join Cheyenne on her journey of compassion, women’s wellness, and cultural discovery.

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