Alabama’s infant mortality crisis: One woman’s fight to save lives

Alabama’s infant mortality crisis: One woman’s fight to save lives

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared a health crisis and said that the state of Alabama has the worst infant mortality rate in the country. The disparity is even more alarming for Black women, who face significantly higher risks during childbirth compared to other racial groups.

With Black Maternal Health Week wrapping up Wednesday, I spoke to a woman determined to save lives.

Cecilia Pearson started a Babypalooza initiative two decades ago and extended it to include Black Maternal Health expos last year. Her main goal is to educate expectant mothers about childbirth’s dangers while making the events engaging and informative.

Pearson gave practical and empowering tips to pregnant women. “Always advocate for yourself,” Pearson urges. “If you have questions, keep asking them until they are answered. If you feel uncomfortable in some way — you know, if you know your body is doing something that you know is not normal for you, keep advocating for yourself.”

She also said that creating a solid support system and recognizing urgent maternal warning signs is crucial. The CDC’s list of things to watch for includes a headache that won’t go away or gets worse over time, severe nausea and throwing up, and changes in your vision.

Pearson also advocates for coordinated delivery hospitals for risk-appropriate care, ensuring that mothers receive specialized care tailored to their needs.