Powerful Photo Series Raises Awareness on Mortality Rates for Black Moms and Babies

We need to do better.
ByStephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Feb 2019

We’re failing our African American mothers and babies—the risk of pregnancy-related deaths for black women is 3 to 4 times higher than those of white women, according to the CDC.

These stark statistics are what inspired the latest photo series from Elaine Baca of Lane B Photography. Baca teamed up with two midwives, Tereé Fruga and Kennasha JeneDe Jones of My Sister’s Keeper Birth and Midwifery Services, who are working hard to change the numbers stacked against these expectant women.

“We believe that every woman should have easy access to quality midwifery care, regardless of her demographic background,” the website reads.

“Together, they are boldly bringing race-based disparities in birth outcomes to the light, and asking our society to do more for African American mothers and babies,” Baca says in a Facebook post featuring the photos.

“Through their work with individual families, they are slowly spreading a powerful message: The disparities faced by black women are shocking and unacceptable—and must be recognized by our culture before true progress can be made,” the photographer explains.

For Baca, Black History Month seemed like the perfect time to put the spotlight on this issue.

“Unfortunately, while many of us celebrate this month with good intentions, we too often only use this time to affirm ourselves and our culture and how far we have come,” she states. “The tireless fight for equality and equity is far from over—and this is painfully evident in the maternal and fetal mortality rates for black women and their babies.”

Take a look at some of the poignant photos below:

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