Supporting Indigenous Maternal Health

At FIT4MOM, we believe in the power of community to uplift and empower each other. This month, we're focusing on a critical issue impacting countless mothers: the disparity in maternal health outcomes for Indigenous communities.

The statistics are alarming. In the United States alone, Indigenous women are two to three times more likely to experience complications during pregnancy and childbirth compared to white women. Globally, the picture is even bleaker. A 2019 report by UN Women found that Indigenous women in some regions are five to six times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications.


These disparities are rooted in a complex web of challenges:

  • Limited access to healthcare: Remote locations, transportation barriers, and cultural sensitivities can make it difficult for Indigenous women to access essential prenatal care, skilled birth attendants, and crucial postpartum support. Studies show that Indigenous women are 41% less likely to receive adequate prenatal care compared to the general population.
  • Social determinants of health: Historical trauma, poverty, and inadequate housing contribute to underlying health conditions like diabetes and hypertension, which increase risks during pregnancy.
  • Cultural competency: Traditional birthing practices are deeply valued within Indigenous communities. However, healthcare systems often lack cultural sensitivity, leading to feelings of mistrust and disconnection. This can discourage Indigenous women from seeking essential medical care.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) women have higher rates of severe maternal morbidity and mortality (SMM) than white women. AIAN women are 2.3 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than non-Hispanic white women. In 2020, the maternal mortality rate for AIAN women was 49.2 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to 23.8 deaths per 100,000 for all women.

Some examples of conditions classified under severe maternal morbidity include:

  • Hemorrhage: Excessive bleeding during pregnancy, childbirth, or the postpartum period can lead to severe maternal morbidity.

  • Hypertensive disorders: Conditions such as preeclampsia and eclampsia, characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy, can pose significant risks to maternal health.

  • Severe infection: Infections that become severe and require extensive medical intervention can contribute to SMM.

  • Cardiomyopathy: A condition where the heart becomes weakened, impacting its ability to pump blood effectively, can occur during or after pregnancy.

  • Amniotic fluid embolism: A rare but severe condition where amniotic fluid or other debris enters the maternal bloodstream, leading to serious complications.

  • Organ failure: Severe complications that result in the failure of one or more organ systems, such as liver, kidney, or respiratory failure.

How Can We Be the Change?

Educate Yourself: Dive deep into understanding the unique challenges Indigenous mothers face. Knowledge is power. Learn about the disparities in maternal healthcare and the specific needs of Indigenous communities.

Contact Local Representatives: Advocacy starts with action. Contact your local representatives and demand that they prioritize policies aimed at improving maternal healthcare services for Indigenous communities.

  • Increase Funding: They must allocate more funding towards accessible and culturally competent healthcare services.

  • Support Legislation: Advocate for laws that protect and enhance the health and well-being of Indigenous mothers.

Educate Your Circle: Use your platform, whether social media, community groups, or casual conversations, to discuss Indigenous maternal health.

  • Share Resources: Provide friends, family, and fellow FIT4MOM sisters with educational materials and information. Encourage them to become advocates too.

Host Discussions: Organize or participate in discussions and forums for this cause. The more people know, the greater the impact.

Together, we can create a powerful force for change. Imagine a future where every mother, regardless of background, has access to the resources and support needed for a healthy pregnancy and joyful motherhood.

Let's run towards a future where every mom thrives! Share this post, donate to a relevant cause, and become a champion for stronger Indigenous maternal health.

Want to know more?

Check out these blogs to continue nurturing your mind, body, and spirit.

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