Black infants in Los Angeles County are three times more likely to die before their first birthday than their white peers. This staggering statistic is the driving force motivating public health officials, legislators, birth workers and advocates to find solutions to address the disparity.

African-American mothers are more likely to die due to complications during pregnancy than other women are as well.

On this episode of Inside the Issues, we are joined by women on the front lines of the fight for black infant health. Priska Neely from Reveal News and Spectrum News One's Ryann Blackshere Vargas provide the “101” highlighting their in-depth reporting.

Melissa Franklin, Pritzker Children's Initiative Fellow with First 5 LA, discusses collaborating with Los Angeles County Department of Health to create programs to support black mothers and babies. Midwives Celest Winfrey and Jessica Diggs discuss the positive impact of holistic labor options from home births to traditional clinical settings.​

Raena Granberry, Senior Program Manager for Reproductive Justice at Black Women for Wellness highlights local support groups and outreach programs catered to black women and the role that a supportive community plays in reducing the mortality gap.

List of resources for mothers:

  • Black Infants & Families: Los Angeles County African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Initiative website.
  • Black Women for Wellness: Dedicated to health education and empowerment, and creating spaces for sisterhood and support.
  • Celest Winfrey: Ivy Midwifery Services
  • Jessica Diggs: Midwife & Educator
  • Black Infant Health: This statewide program is open to pregnant women regardless of income. There are programs running in South L.A., Antelope Valley, Pasadena, and Long Beach.
  • Breastfeed LA: Breastfeeding is one of the ways to keep babies safe and strong once they're home. It can also be challenging. Breastfeed LA offers education and support.
  • California Black Women's Health Project: Provides training for health advocates, sisters circles, and other supports to improve black women's health.
  • CinnaMoms: Supports circles hosted at six WIC centers in the L.A. area with the goal of breaking down barriers to breastfeeding.
  • iDREAM for Racial Health Equity: Focused on educating millennial leaders about disparities in birth outcomes to improve outcomes for mothers and babies.
  • Kindred Space: A hub for midwifery care, doula support, lactation consulting, and support groups.
  • LOOM: Provides pregnancy, breastfeeding classes, and a doula directory.
  • March of Dimes: National nonprofit focused on reducing preterm birth. Here are some tip sheets on the signs of preterm birth and things to consider for women getting pregnant after a previous preterm birth.
  • Maternal Mental Health NOW: Offers resources and events for women experiencing depression during and after pregnancy. 
  • Respect Black Beginnings: Provides childbirth classes and trainings for mothers and health professionals, including a wrist device expectant mothers can wear to support mindfulness.
  • Tribe Midwifery: A home birth midwifery practice, helmed by Debbie Allen and dedicated to improving racial disparities.