Women’s Health

Fertility Problems in Women Belonging to the Black Community

Black women are dying at a more alarming rate than women from any other race and ethnicity in the world during their pregnancy or childbirth period.

Black women are dying at a more alarming rate than women from any other race and ethnicity in the world during their pregnancy or childbirth period. Almost the highest cause of maternal mortality during the (17.4 x 100,000) live births is the age of women giving birth. In severe cases of childbirth among Black women with greater than or equal to 40 years of age in the United Kingdom, even if these mothers survive childbirth, many experience chronic health conditions. Inequity in treatment especially worsens two frequently co-occurring lifelong conditions throughout the nursing period—diabetes mellitus and hypertension.

Women in the Black community experience twice the risk of infertility than White women. There is up to 24% of infertility prevalent among women who are more than 40 years of age.

To further explain the risks beyond physical entities, the common mental illness that triggers as an outcome of childbirth is postpartum depression. The first 12 months following childbirth are critical for both physical and mental adjustment of women in providing care to a newborn. The vulnerability to becoming less resilient, more stressed, and feeling low is enhanced as the health declines with age.

There are always combinations of factors that develop complications in the natural process of giving birth to a child in a healthy manner. Let’s have a look at what factors play a role in increasing the risks of childbirth in the later years of life.

Factors affecting childbirth

  • Income is an influential social determinant. In giving birth to a child, poverty may decrease a woman’s capacity to give birth to a healthy newborn child. No one factor is ever completely responsible for creating problems in the fertility outcomes of human beings. However, they play a role in minimizing the optimal potential
  • Age and labor participation may cause fatigue, lower energy level, low motivation, and sexual desire to conceive more children because the body rarely finds rest, and exhaustion leads to fewer chances of conception along with age, preferred decreased size of family due to unavailability of taking more responsibilities
  • Poor nutritional status is one of the well-defined causes of birth difficulties. Lack of capacity to buy foods that are healthy and nutritious for achieving optimal pregnancy health status is the core issue. Body weight, metabolic disorders, and insulin resistance are directly related to fertility outcomes. The ovulation impairs whenever there is an inadequate weight gain or loss and changes in insulin
  • Educational status is the most controversial of all the factors. In some research, the data suggests that lack of education makes it difficult to manage the fertilization process record. However, few experts blame less successful childbirths as a reason for becoming more educated because it engages women in a variety of outdoor tasks and habits that may not be favorable for healthier pregnancies (ie, excessive traveling time and driving)
  • Racism in having access to healthcare facilities is a major concern. It has been a barrier to improving women’s health and the provision of better care. Structural racism is quite powerful in every society since the history of racial discrimination. Some certain policies and practices play a role in hindering the recovery process following a health condition as well
  • The birth defects among children who survived in the cases of delivery by a mother in her later years of life range from speech, hearing, and language disorders. A variety of issues may exist but some of them are very much prevalent in the Black community (ie, ear malformations, blood-related diseases, and other disabilities). Similarly, Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy, and other neurological conditions occur as well in this population.  

Practical steps to follow

Some strategies ease the process, such as:

  • Shift your focus away from the dates that cause you worry. For example, if your due date is near and you have previous miscarriages then become conscious of how well you are doing rather than worrying about what would happen all the time. Similarly, if you are a woman who is not achieving conception after months of trying, again forgetting about the dates is a better idea
  • Pay attention to what makes you active, happy, and relaxed. For activity, you may add a few healthy or superfoods to your daily diet. Drink a lot of water, and do some peaceful yet enjoyable activities such as drawing or walking on grass. Find your happiness sources without any condition of expecting it from another human being or object
  • Consult your healthcare practitioner to develop a plan based on each trimester. It is crucial to follow a strict plan to meet the needs of pregnancy and childbirth. Adequate nutrition and physical check-ups must be a routine without skipping for any manageable reason
  • Seek support from friends and loved ones. Other than general practitioner and gynecology staff, there are people in our life who may offer us moral and emotional support. Most of the concerns that we have are building up on the roots of stress and perceived inability to do it all alone. For example, single mothers might think about this responsibility in more disastrous level

According to the UNICEF parenting guide, all human beings must contribute to reducing the negative impact of age on childbirth. As an individual, I urge you to notice the kind of experience you may have during the pregnancy and throughout childbirth. Even before the actual pregnancy occurs, identify possible complications and early solutions to overcome them beforehand. At a societal level, support other women of color in perceiving the whole experience more positively. At a community level, encourage support group participation for women who are afraid of the fertility outcomes. At a national level, recommend new policies whenever you find an opportunity to express and as a global citizen, let yourself be dispersed in the crowd to enjoy life and keep yourself vibrant regardless of the circumstances. You can control what you are and must not what you have!

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About the author

Dr. Nazish Idrees Chaudhary

Dr. Nazish Idrees Chaudhary is a registered clinical psychologist. Holding a doctorate, she is currently working as an assistant professor at The University of Lahore and working as a Director of Operations at the Grace Rehabilitation Center. She has been working with people around the world, including minorities and those with special needs. Her culturally sensitive approach in clinical settings for the last 12 years and diverse experience made her a unique writer in this field

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