Birth Inequities in the US with Rhea Williams

Birth Inequities in the US with Rhea Williams

The reality of birth inequities in the US is not merely an opinion; it is a fact. Women of color are dying at higher rates than their white counterparts, and in some parts of the country that rate is up to 12 times higher.

In this episode of Yoga|Birth|Babies, I speak with Rhea Williams, Certified Nurse Midwife and Director of Professional Education and Programing for Spinning Babies® about birth inequities in the US. Rhea shares insight into how the mistreatment of black slaves, the targeted manipulation of birth control, and the inequality of respect and treatment of black people has led to a deep distrust of the current healthcare system within the black community. These societal failures have resulted in women of color, regardless of education and income, receiving poorer quality of care and being more likely to die in childbirth. Rhea provides tangible steps that individuals and communities can take to better support black birthing people. 

In this episode you will learn: 

  • About Rhea and how she got into birth work
  • The current statistics of inequities in birth between black and white birthing people. 
  • The history of racism in health care. 
  • The obstetric violence black slaves suffered through.  
  • How the view of black women changed during slavery and after during the Jim Crow. 
  • The overall impact of racism in healthcare.
  • The impact negative treatment of black women have on one’s desire to seek medical help.
  • Why death related to childbirth is higher for black birthing people. 
  • The fictitious belief that black people experience pain differently then white.
  • Why people of color are under treated for pain. 
  • How physicians implicit views of black people affect clinical decision making. 
  • Why education and socioeconomics does not matter in the decrease of material mortality among black women.
  • Tangible steps we can take as a society. 
  • What birth workers, care providers and support people do as individuals to support black birthing people and help transfer the role of power.
  • Steps birth workers, care providers and support, can take to increase how we listen.
  • One final tip/ piece of advice Rhea offers new and expectant parents. 
  • Where to find Rhea’s work!

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About Rhea:

Rhea studied nursing at Johns Hopkins University and continued her midwifery studies at Shenandoah University. Prior to midwifery, she practiced as a nutritionist in the Washington DC area. She currently incorporates nutrition education and intervention in her patient care with a focus on functional nutrition. She enjoys teaching undergraduate and graduate students and finds innovative ways to incorporate functional nutrition into the curriculum using flipped learning modalities. She believes every woman has the potential to have a healthy enjoyable pregnancy if empowered and educated.

During her care of women in the intrapartum setting she began noticing commonalities with the women experiencing difficult labor. In her search to find a reliable solution to help women and ultimately prevent their issues from occurring, she found Spinning Babies®. Through integrating the Spinning Babies® methodology with her foundation in midwifery and nutrition, she noticed positive change in the women who embraced applying the trifecta of nutrition, midwifery philosophy and Spinning Babies. During this point in time, she also felt a calling to midwifery and undergraduate education and is committed to supporting education of bedside and advanced practices nurses focused on Women’s Health. She currently serves as the Director of Professional Education and Programing for Spinning Babies® and is an Approved Trainer. She enjoys teaching undergraduate and graduate students and finds innovative ways to incorporate functional nutrition into the curriculum using flipped learning modalities. She currently serves as faculty at University of Maryland and Georgetown University. She is actively involved in nursing research as she is currently working toward her PhD at University of Maryland as a Jonas and Conway Scholar.

Additional Resources:

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