Exploring Black Women's Pathways to Motherhood Within a Reproductive Justice Framework

Qual Health Res. 2022 Mar;32(4):694-709. doi: 10.1177/10497323211066869. Epub 2022 Jan 5.


Amidst the increasing push to address racial disparities in maternal health equity, fewer studies have considered Black women's perspectives on their needs, concerns, and priorities regarding family planning care. Such evidence might help address the lack of support and information that many Black women report in patient-provider encounters, and broaden empirical knowledge on the contextual factors that influence Black women's reproductive decisions. In the present qualitative study, we explored Black women's pathways to motherhood within a reproductive justice framework. We drew on individual, semi-structured interview data from 31 Black mothers (25-50 years, Mage = 35 years) across the United States. Using consensual qualitative research methods, we elaborated on three themes: (1) intentional family planning, (2) unintended pregnancy, and (3) othermothering. The findings challenge deficit-based stereotypes of Black mothers' reproductive choices and illuminate how health practitioners can facilitate humanizing conversations that prioritize Black women's family planning goals and decision-making.

Keywords: Black mothers; consensual qualitative research methods; family planning; maternal health equity; reproductive justice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blacks
  • Contraception Behavior
  • Family Planning Services*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex Education
  • Social Justice*
  • United States