Actress Jodie Turner-Smith Opted for Home Birth Due to Systemic Racism

“Delivering at home ensured that I had what every single woman deserves to have: full agency in determining my birth support.”
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By Nehal Aggarwal, Editor
Published August 17, 2020
actress Jodie turner smith has home birth due to systematic racism
Image: Stephanie Cardinale / Getty Images

Actress Jodie Turner-Smith welcomed her first child, a baby girl, with husband Joshua Jackson in April 2020. But they chose the birth to take place at home rather than at the hospital—and for the most heartbreaking reasons.

In an recent interview with British Vogue, Turner-Smith, 33, revealed she wanted a home birth due to the systemic racism that’s still deeply rooted in America. “[We] decided on a home birth, because of concerns about negative birth outcomes for Black women in America—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of pregnancy-related deaths is more than three times greater for Black women than for white women, pointing, it seems to me, to systemic racism.”

The disparities in health care for Black women are alarming. The CDC noted just last year that, though mist pregnancy-related deaths are preventable, “racial and ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related deaths have persisted over time.

Another big factor in the new mom’s decision to give birth at home? The pandemic’s impact on hospitals’ delivery units. “We never imagined that in the coming weeks, hospitals around the country would begin restricting who could be present in the birthing rooms, forcing mothers to deliver without the support person or people of their choice,” she said. “Delivering at home ensured that I had what every single woman deserves to have: full agency in determining my birth support.”

Turner-Smith spent four days in labor before welcoming her daughter in the world. Now that’s she here, the mom wonders how she’ll explain the events of 2020 to her daughter when she gets older.

“Sometimes I wonder how I will explain to my daughter what it meant to be born in the year 2020,” she told the outlet. “The historic events, the social unrest, and me–a new mother just trying to do her best. I think I will tell her that it was as if the world had paused for her to be born. And that, hopefully, it never quite returned to the way it was before.”

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