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Why Black Maternal Health Matters

Louisiana Healthcare Connections wants to help all our members have healthy pregnancies, safe deliveries, and to stay healthy during their postpartum recovery. But we recognize that Black women face unique challenges and disparities in the health care system.

According to the CDC, Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than White women. This is unacceptable, and Louisiana Healthcare Connections is working with the Louisiana Department of Health and the providers in our network to change it.

If you are pregnant and haven’t told us yet, be sure to tell us right away.

Log in to your Louisiana Healthcare Connections account anytime and fill out the Notification of Pregnancy form. Or complete your form over the phone. Just call Member Services at 1-866-595-8133 (TTY: 711), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

What Black people can do to be empowered patients during pregnancy and after delivery:

  • Talk to a health care provider right away if anything doesn’t feel right or is concerning.
  • Think about what you need to feel comfortable and empowered during your pregnancy. You may choose to bring a support person with you to appointments. Or you may ask your provider to better explain instructions or why they are recommending certain care.
  • Don't shy away from asking your health care provider questions. They could save you or your baby’s life. Here are some examples:
    • Addressing Disparities: I'm worried about the higher risk of pregnancy-related death for Black women. How can we work together to prevent this?
    • Blood Pressure Management: How will we monitor my blood pressure to ensure my safety?
    • Pain Management: I'm worried about pain management during delivery. How can we ensure I receive the right treatment?"
    • C-section Delivery: What is your C-section delivery rate for Black women compared to the overall rate? When and why would you recommend a C-section?
    • Postpartum Care Plan: I want to be prepared for postpartum recovery. Can we create a plan to keep me safe and healthy?

  • Share recent pregnancy history during each medical care visit for up to one year after delivery.
  • Know about urgent maternal warning signs, including severe headache, extreme swelling of hands or face, trouble breathing, heavy vaginal bleeding or discharge, overwhelming tiredness, and more. Seek medical care right away if experiencing any of these symptoms. They could indicate a potentially life-threatening issue.

  • Connect with a specialist for mental health support if you aren’t feeling like yourself or if stress affecting your health. Pregnancy and delivery can bring up a lot of feelings and emotions that can be difficult to deal with alone. If you think you might need mental health or substance use care, please call your doctor or our 24/7 Mental Health and Addiction Crisis Hotline at 1-844-677-7553 (TTY: 711) to speak with a licensed mental health counselor.
  • Consider low-impact exercise like walking or yoga to manage stress. Our health and wellness app, Sharecare, has various resources and tools to help our members manage stress and lead healthier lives. Visit and follow the steps to create your free account.

  • Monitor your blood pressure throughout pregnancy and after delivery. Call your health care provider if your blood pressure cannot be controlled by resting or you have sudden vision problems or swelling in your hands, face or feet. 65% of pregnancy-related deaths from high blood pressure occur after delivery.

Connecting with organizations and groups that support Black mothers can help you build a community of people who are rooting for you and your baby’s success. Here are some good ones to start with:

  • Black Mamas Matter Alliance: Black women-led alliance to center Black mamas to advocate, drive research, build power and shift culture for Black maternal health, rights and justice.
  • Black Women’s Health Imperative: Nonprofit created by Black women to help protect and advance the health and wellness of Black women and girls.
  • Melanin Moms: A Facebook support group of 51,000 moms and expecting mothers of Black children.

Remember: You know your body best. If you experience something that seems odd or is worrying you, don’t ignore it. Seek medical care right away if you experience any signs or symptoms listed here.

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Need Help?

We are here to help you and your baby have a safe pregnancy and a healthy start. If you have question or need help along the way, call us at 1-866-595-8133 (TTY: 711), Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. and we'll be happy to help.