Young Moms and Birth Injustice by Aminah Barber

January 9, 2015

Did you know that…

  • Young women, ages 12-19 are 2 times as likely to die during childbirth than women over age 20?

  • Black adolescents are 2-3 times more likely to become pregnant than other races?


Young mothers of color, especially those under 18, are undoubtedly the most oppressed and disparaged in the U.S.  There is a marked stigma and pervading prejudice when one says, “I’m a 16-year old mother,” or, “I’m 14 and pregnant.”  It is assumed that these young women have been irresponsible, promiscuous, and are likely uneducated.  These beliefs lead to poor prenatal self-care, and low-self esteem, and substandard healthcare offered by the medical profession.  Young mothers of color are:


  • Most often treated poorly in doctor’s offices.

  • Not given all their options when it comes birth choices.

  • Rarely educated about using doulas and midwives.

  • Least likely to access prenatal care.

  • More likely to deliver by C-section.

  • More likely to suffer untreated postpartum depression.

  •  Not given important information to make informed choices about adoption, circumcision, immunization and other issues.

The important daily work done by doulas, midwives, lactation professionals, childbirth educators, birth assistants, women’s health advocates and birth justice workers is vital to improving the birth experiences and outcomes of young pregnant women and mothers! 


Get involved. These organizations for and by young women are doing amazing reproductive justice advocacy and support work. Learn more here:

Young Women United


Fresno Barrios Unidos Teen Success

ACT for Women and Girls Teen Success

California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Justice for Young Families 



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