Black women health inequity: The origin of perinatal health disparity

J Natl Med Assoc. 2021 Feb;113(1):105-113. doi: 10.1016/j.jnma.2020.11.008. Epub 2020 Dec 9.


Black enslaved women endured sexual exploitation and reproductive manipulation to produce a labor workforce on the southern plantations during the Antebellum Period. Health care inequity has continued from slavery and into the 21th century primarily due of racial segregation, poverty, access, poor quality of care, eugenics and the assault of forced sterilizations. Racial disparity in maternal and infant mortality is an outcome rooted in racial injustice, social and economic determinants as well as the stresses during pregnancy throughout the generations of Black births. Affordable, available, quality and equitable care and narrowing the economic gap for Black women and families is the most significant barrier in combating racial disparity in perinatal health outcomes and health inequity.

Keywords: Black women; Disparity; Inequity; Reproductive.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality
  • Pregnancy
  • Racial Groups
  • Social Segregation*
  • White People*