Community‐Based Doulas and COVID‐19: Addressing Structural and Institutional Barriers to Maternal Health Equity

S. Michelle Ogunwole, Johns Hopkins University Wendy L. Bennett, Johns Hopkins University Andrea N. Williams, Nzuri Malkia Birth Cooperative Kelly M. Bower, Johns Hopkins University

First published online:

| DOI: https://doi.org/10.1363/psrh.12169
Abstract / Summary

The Black–White racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes are among the largest disparities seen in traditional perinatal health measures. Black pregnant and postpartum people have a pregnancy‐related mortality ratio that is three to four times that of their White counterparts, and disparities in severe maternal morbidity are similar. Additionally, the infant mortality rate among Black neonates is more than twice that of White neonates (10.8 vs. 4.6 per 1,000 live births), and the proportion of births that are preterm is more than 50% higher among Blacks than among Whites (14% vs. 9%).

Author's Affiliations

S. Michelle Ogunwole is a research fellow and Wendy L. Bennett is associate professor, Division of General Internal Medicine, School of Medicine; and Kelly M. Bower is assistant professor, School of Nursing and Johns Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions—all at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Andrea N. Williams is the cofounder and director of the Nzuri Malkia Birth Cooperative and program director of Baltimore Community Doulas, Baltimore.


The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Guttmacher Institute.