Latham Thomas is fighting maternal mortality as a doula by educating and empowering doulas of all backgrounds.
“When the CDC decides that Black women are in a state of emergency, that’s crazy,” she stated. “It’s no longer just, like, making sure that someone feel comfortable and feels at ease, it’s now making sure that we are prepared to fight for survival.”
Pregnancy-related deaths have steadily increased in the U.S. over the last three decades and Black women in America are three to four times more likely to die from childbirth or pregnancy-related causes than white non-Latina women. In New York City, the mortality rate for Black mothers rises to 12 times.
“If you could be Serena Williams, or Erica Garner, or Beyoncé and have your life be threatened, or in some cases, your life end, as a result of negligence, we acknowledge that negligence is largely connected to racial bias,” said Thomas. “We know that there’s something underlying that is creating this playing field that’s level regardless of where you stand."
Thomas is the founder of Mama Glow, a maternity lifestyle company that provides resources for women at any stage in childbearing. She also trains doulas and teaches them how to best serve expectant mothers of all backgrounds.
Thomas says training doulas to be educated and skilled advocates is just the first step to reducing maternal mortality.
“We’re talking about a real threat to a community,” she said. “We need to make sure these women survive.”