Still Searching For Black Midwives In The $3 Billion Childbirth Industry

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By CultureBanx Team

  • 4% of the country’s midwives are Black
  • Childbirth is a $3B industry in the U.S.

The over medicalization of childbirth in the U.S. spurred by the American Medical Association (AMA) has been very effective in weeding out midwives, an occupation typically held by Black and Native American women. As childbirth costs continue to rise in this country to the tune of more than $3 billion dollars annually, is it time for the re-emergence of midwifery care?

Why This Matters: Right now only 4% of the country’s midwives are Black, but less than 10% of deliveries in the U.S. are led by them. Herein lies the problem, midwives are usually the least expensive option for childbirth, whether you have insurance or not. For Ob-Gyn doctors in many medical settings they are paid more for C-sections, and hospitals makes thousands of dollars more for the surgery.

Midwifery care average between $2,000 to $5,000 and is often not covered by insurance companies. If we compare this to the average cost of a C-section, which can range from $15,000 to upwards of $50,000, according to Midwives Collective of Sacramento, you can see why the medical industry would push this option to patients.

Quartz reported on how the AMA viewed midwives as competitors in what should be one of the most profitable sectors for the medical industry. They knew childbirth would become the most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. and a reliable source of revenue.

The move to phase out this traditional minority led profession wasn’t complicated. Medical professionals started to convince women that having a doctor was a better option, who would most likely be white and male, as opposed to a Black female midwife.

Situational Awareness: Expectant and new mothers in the U.S. die at a rate that’s far higher than in any other developed country. Perhaps doctors and midwives should be compensated more generously for natural deliveries versus c-sections.

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