Sisters in Birth working to ensure safe deliveries for Black women in Mississippi

Local News

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Sisters in Birth in Jackson provides pre and postpartum coaching, medical advice and care for women — mostly Black women — who feel they’ve been neglected by Mississippi healthcare providers.

“Managed care organizations are doing a horrible job in intervening in the lives of the Medicaid population to help them to get healthy to improve birth outcomes,” said Getty Israel, founder and CEO.

She said the problem is rooted deep in system racism. She said it’s only getting worse.

“Most of the women who are having babies are poor,” Israel. “Most of those women are working retail jobs that pay a minimum wage. Most of those women are not getting quality healthcare.”

A few second time moms who described stark differences with and without Sisters in Birth. One said the treatment as a hospital was appalling.

“They were very ugly to me to point that my daughter’s grandmother had to say something,” Amber Tatum said. “It was partly because of my race and partly because of my age. They talked to me like I was a child, but I was not a child. I was an adult.”

Lauren Thurmon had a C-section. She said her epidural was ineffective and that her doctor did not care.

“I was literally screaming during the procedure,” Thurmon said. “I felt everything. That was very traumatic, and I didn’t realize how traumatic it was until I had my second one.“

Both women used the same word to describe their doctors’ attitude.

“Nonchalant,” Tatum said.

“He was real nonchalant about it,” Thurmon said.

Israel said her goal is to find doctors willing to make a difference. That can mean a smoother pregnancy and delivery.

To further the fight, Sisters in Birth will be opening a clinic to work around these health disparities on June 1. Next year, they will even be opening a birthing center.

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