New legislation aims to reduce maternal mortality especially among black women

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AUGUSTA, GA ( WJBF) — Black women are three times more likely to die from complications during pregnancy — the CDC says Georgia has the second highest pregnancy mortality rate in the country.

” Unfortunately the rate of hypertension and blood clots are higher in our African American women,” Dr. Raeonda Bullard, a third-year resident physician in the OB-GYN department at the Medical College of Georgia said.

Dr. Raeonda Bullard treats patients with all kinds of complications during pregnancy.

As a new mom she’s even faced some herself.

” After being home for several days my blood pressure sky rocketed to stroke levels,” Bullard said.

She says for black women that can be life threatening.

” We’re seeing very high rates of blood pressure and uncontrolled blood pressure where women who are young are needing two and three anti-hypertensive medications or have history of blood clots which could be lethal to a woman especially during pregnancy,” Bullard said.

Its something Maria Jones dealt with firsthand during her last pregnancy — it caused her to have surgery before delivering her son at four months.

” I had a lot of issues with my blood pressure and cervix,” Jones said.

Its an issue state lawmakers are hoping to address with legislation that would authorize new federal grant money aimed at reducing maternal mortality especially among black women.

” It’s beyond time for congress to address the maternal health crisis that’s disproportionately killing black women and women of color in Georgia and throughout the nation, and the maternal health quality improvement act is a critical step forward,” Sen. Raphael Warnock said in a statement.

Dr. Bullard says it would provide more resources to help.

” Its very important for physicians and providers to target these women and make sure they’re getting the standard of care.”

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