Seems like racism is even more insidious than most could imagine. High maternal mortality rates in African American women appear to be caused by the stress of dealing with racism in daily life:
According to Women’s eNews, African American women “are three-to-six more likely to die during pregnancy and the six weeks after delivery than U.S. white and Latina women.” This statistic applies to women on all levels of education and income. There are some studies that maintain black women who are highly educated and have a middle income are actually at higher risk.
Although African American women comprise 12 percent of the female population in this country, they represent almost half of the maternal mortalities.
It is now thought that these dismal statistics are because of living with the stress of racism– “from workplace discrimination to maltreatment in maternity wards.” This is now the leading hypothesis on the present state of maternal health among African American women.