BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — There's a high maternal mortality rate in Erie County that has a growing trend among women of color in choosing to give birth at home instead of a hospital.
The founder of Melminated Moms, Alexcia Harrod, focuses on helping Black and Brown's mothers get through a better birthing experience since she sees the mortality rate among Black and Brown mothers in Erie County as a dire situation.
“Black and Brown women are three times more likely to die during child labor than their White counterparts and that static is scary," Harrod says.
Harrod has a community baby shower at the Hansa building on June 11th to raise awareness and have Doula support mothers.
"Doulas are the mom's advocate, so there will be there to focus on you and make sure that you have a pleasurable experience during your birthing process," says Harrod.
Harrod and others say 70 percent of Black maternal health death can be prevented.
"New York State ranks 23rd compared to other states, which is alarming," says Danise Wilson, an executive director of Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center. "I would say New York State has recognized an issue here and specifically in Erie County the maternal mortality rates are very high compared to other counties within the state."
The Chairwoman of Erie County Legislature, April Baskin, says Black and Brown's women don't deserve to die or have a poor experience in giving birth.
"We got to change the statistics that you don't deserve to die or have a poor experience simply because your chances are lower of having a positive birth experience because of your race," Baskin says.
Baskin and Wilson are working with the New York State Medicaid Doula Pilot Program as a first step to fighting through this disparity.
"This is the first time this has been done in this pilot program, and it's only being done in Erie County where low income mothers are given access to Doula services and it has been shown that Doula's have helped eliminate the maternal mortality rate," Wilson says.
As for Alexcia Harrod, she hopes this awareness will go beyond Erie County.
"Black and Brown's women are three times more likely to die than their White counterparts so they know it's an issue," Harrod says. "I'm glad they brought it up but we have a lot of work to do."
Click here to find out more about the community baby shower event and the mortality rate among Black and Brown mothers in Erie County.