Maternal mortality is on the rise in the United States and it disproportionately affects black women. The reasons for this staggering discrepancy hinge on three central issues: First, black women are more likely to have pre-existing cardiovascular morbidity that increase the risk of maternal mortality. Second, black women are more likely to experience adverse pregnancy outcomes which puts them at risk for developing long-term cardiovascular disease. Third, racial bias of providers and perceived racial discrimination from patients (the elephant in the room) impacts black patients' trust in their providers and the medical community at large. Reducing black maternal mortality involves a multi-tiered approach involving the patient, provider and public health policy.
Keywords: Blacks; Maternal mortality; Whites.