How COVID Affected African American Women’s Experiences with Pregnancy

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Bates, Latara
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Middle Tennessee State University
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 exacerbated the US maternal health crisis and reduced access to quality healthcare (Destine, Brooks, and Rogers 2020). Racial minorities, especially members of the Black community, felt these impacts disproportionately. This narrative research study explores African American women’s reported experiences with pregnancy and delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Semi-structured interviews were conducted via Zoom video conferencing with eight African American women from the Southern region of the US. Two major themes emerged from analyzing the interview transcripts; these themes included: 1) the importance of social support for African American women while pregnant amidst heightened fear and isolation, and 2) reproductive health choices and reasons for getting or declining the COVID vaccine. The research underscores the importance of community support among Black women, family members, and health care providers. Strengthening different forms of support in the Black community is particularly important for recognizing and preserving Black women’s agency in their reproductive choices. This is true in the COVID and maternal health crisis, as well as in routine healthcare, including pregnancy and delivery care.
COVID, Maternal Health, Sociology