Mamatoto Village working to curb pregnancy-related deaths in DC

There is an effort in DC to expand access to pre-natal and post-natal care for minorities as pregnant people in D.C. are already more likely to die in childbirth compared to the national average. 

That number goes up exponentially when you focus on Black people giving birth. According to a recent government-led survey in D.C., Black people make up 90% of birth-related deaths.

Mamatoto Village in Northeast is working to change that.

READ MORE: Montgomery County event focuses on educating Black women about healthy births

Princess Harris is due with her first baby in January. Right now, she's trying to find a permanent home and job – all while battling the nausea and exhaustion that comes with growing a human. She turned to Mamatoto Village for help.

Black people who are pregnant in D.C. are more likely to experience chronic hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Left untreated, both can cause serious and even fatal complications.

Access to healthcare is also a major hurdle, according to the DC Maternal Morality Review Committee. There are more general hospitals in Northwest DC than wards 7 and 8 combined. 

Jazzmin Shakir is an education specialist at Mamatoto Village and a mother of four. She came to Mamatoto Village for help having her second child. She stayed because she saw how much of a difference they make for Black mothers and babies.

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Black people make up roughly half of all births in D.C., but account for 90% of all pregnancy-related deaths. That's compared to people who are pregnant that make up about 30% of births in the District but experience zero pregnancy-related deaths, according to DC Health.

Even with all the work they do at Mamatoto Village, they are just a small part of tackling this problem. As Princess said, to truly fix the Black maternal mortality rate in the nation's capital, it takes a village.