Washington DC, 13 April 2023 (TDI): In recognition of Black Maternal Health Week, Vice President of the United States (US), Kamala Harris stated that the Hear Her campaign is amplifying the voices and stories of Black women who have experienced pregnancy-related complications or conditions.
The goal is to raise awareness of the urgent need to build a healthcare system that respects the dignity of all people, particularly Black women who are at a disproportionately high risk of maternal mortality and morbidity.
The campaign features the personal stories of women from different backgrounds and walks of life, each sharing their experiences with pregnancy-related complications and how they sought and received help.
Likewise, these stories underscore the importance of listening to and taking seriously the concerns of pregnant and postpartum women, especially Black women who often face systemic barriers to receiving appropriate care.
One woman, Allyson, an elite track and field athlete and Olympian, was diagnosed with severe preeclampsia at 32 weeks pregnant. Despite her exceptional level of fitness and extensive training, she had elevated protein levels in her urine and developed high blood pressure.
Her doctor quickly admitted her to the hospital for monitoring and testing, and she underwent an emergency C-section. Her doctor’s swift actions may have saved her life.
Valencia struggled to have her concerns taken seriously during her difficult first pregnancy, but her primary care provider eventually helped her get the care she needed.
Kylie experienced life-threatening complications at 38 weeks pregnant, but her husband fought for her and made sure she received the best care possible.
Eleorra had severe chest pains during pregnancy but kept searching for answers until she found a high-risk doctor who provided her with the care she needed to make it through her pregnancy safely.
Lindsay developed preeclampsia during her second pregnancy but was initially told she was experiencing typical pregnancy swelling. She checked her blood pressure at a pharmacy and discovered it was dangerously high, and her decision to go straight to the hospital may have saved her life.
Sanari experienced pain after delivery and was initially told it was caused by gas. When her symptoms worsened, an abscess was found on her uterus that could have been fatal. She emphasized the importance of being heard and having someone finally listen to her concerns.
So, these personal stories highlight the need to address systemic disparities and biases in the healthcare system to ensure that all pregnant and postpartum women, especially Black women, receive the care they need and deserve.
In a nutshell, the Hear Her campaign aims to empower women to speak up for themselves and seek help when they need it.