Baby Dove has officially entered the fight to close the maternal health disparity gap by pledging $250,000 to Black birthing people to hire doulas as part of its Black Birth Equity Fund.

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An image of a Black pregnant woman.
Credit: Getty Images. Art: Jillian Sellers.

In recent years, first-hand accounts of the traumatic experiences or maternal deaths of Black birthing people have become painfully common. Their stories add humanity to the long-existing statistics noting that Black people giving birth in the U.S. are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related deaths than white women.

Baby Dove's latest initiative, the Black Birth Equity Fund: Action for Black Maternal Health, makes them one of the latest companies to go beyond discussing the impact of anti-Black racism by acting to create meaningful change.

"On our mission to catalyze systemic change, we're also collaborating with leading advocacy groups like Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA). Together, we can advance superior care— with and for Black moms and birthing people," their site reads before describing the systemic factors that motivate their $250,000 pledge that is immediately available as $1,300 grants to roughly 190 people. The fund focuses on reducing the impact of the maternal care gap, which they note leaves many Black women and birthing people with subpar care in the pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum stages.

Many of the maternal deaths that occur are preventable. While neighborhood, household income, and education levels vary among the tragic statistics, the risk for racism and bias remains pretty consistent for people birthing while Black.

Studies show doulas improve maternal health outcomes by helping birthing people manage the information, emotions, and even pain that comes with giving birth while Black in an anti-Black world. They also help birthing people from marginalized groups advocate for affirming and equitable health care. While birth culture primarily focuses on birthing "healthy babies," doulas work to make sure the needs of mothers and pregnant people aren't left behind.

Despite their value, state and private insurance plans and health care services packages rarely cover doulas' services. Across the country, a growing wave of legislation at the state level hopes to address this. In the meantime, expectant families are left to pay for the support required to avoid adverse birth outcomes out of pocket. Similarly, doulas are fighting to be paid reasonably for the value of their services. This is where efforts like Baby Dove's Black Birth Equity Fund are useful.

Black moms and birthing folks who can benefit from these funds should complete the Black Birth Equity Fund Grant Application as soon as possible. Those who don't make the first round of funding, however, might have a second chance. After Baby Dove awards the first 190 grants from the $250,000 fund, they will continue funding the grant through the proceeds of their Melanin-Rich Skin Care gift set. All the profits of the gift set, designed in partnership with illustrator Keturah Ariel, will go toward continuing the Black Birth Equity Fund.