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

We need to do better.
ByStephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Jun 2020

We’re failing our African American mothers and babies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of pregnancy-related deaths for black women is three to four times higher than those of white women.

These stark statistics are what inspired the 2019 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 says.

There is still much work to be done. As Baca says, “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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