60 W Randolph Street, Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60601


Are Birth Injuries More Likely for Mothers in Minority Groups?

Posted on in Birth Injury

Cook County medical malpractice attorney birth injury

Even though doctors and medical facilities in the United States provide high-quality healthcare for many patients, birth injuries still occur, and the rate of maternal injuries in this country is higher than in any other developed country. Unfortunately, even though mothers and children of all backgrounds are affected by these types of injuries, those who are in minority groups are even more likely to experience serious or fatal complications during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

Why Are African Americans More Likely to Experience Birth Injuries?

There are approximately 700 cases of maternal death each year, and two-thirds of these deaths are generally considered to be preventable. In addition, 50,000 women experience severe maternal morbidity (SMM), which involves life-threatening complications during pregnancy or birth. While these issues affect women from every background, they are much more likely to affect women of color. While an average of 17.2 maternal deaths occur out of every 100,000 births, this rate increases to 43.5 out of 100,000 for non-Hispanic Black women, while it decreases to 12.7 out of every 100,000 for non-Hispanic white women. Black women are also twice as likely to experience SMM as non-Hispanic White women.

When it comes to birth injuries to children, Black infants are also more likely to suffer serious health risks than white children. Black children are 50 percent more likely to be born preterm, and they are twice as likely to have a low birth weight. In addition, fetal death is more than twice as common for children of Black mothers than for white mothers.

While there are a variety of reasons why Black mothers and children are more likely to experience birth injuries, many of them are the result of increased levels of psychological stress that affect this demographic. Stress can lead to health concerns that affect pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, heart disease, embolisms, or mental health issues. While some stressors may be attributed to food insecurity, violence in the community, or difficulty accessing quality healthcare, Black women at all societal levels experience an increased risk of birth injuries, regardless of their level of education or income. In fact, Black women who are college graduates have a higher risk of premature labor than white women who did not complete high school.

Studies have shown that bias in the healthcare system related to a patient’s race can often play a role in the care they receive and the response to health conditions that affect mothers and children during pregnancy and birth. Due to the increased risks that Black women face during pregnancy and the higher rates of birth injuries for Black children, medical providers should monitor these patients closely and be aware of potential medical issues that could affect their immediate and ongoing health. The failure to properly address these concerns or provide care to address health risks may be considered medical negligence.

Contact Our Illinois Birth Injury Attorneys

If you or your child has suffered an injury during birth, you may be struggling to determine how you can address your health issues. At the Birth Injury Law Alliance, we will work with you to make sure you understand the different forms of financial assistance that are available to you, and we will help you determine whether medical negligence, including implicit or explicit bias, was to blame for your injury. To learn more about how we can help, call our experienced Chicago birth injury lawyers today at 312-945-1300 to set up a free consultation.








Back to Top