If you and your partner are expecting, or currently have a baby, your family deserves the best care possible. Studies have shown that mothers are 1.5 times more likely to receive prenatal care in the first trimester when fathers are involved during pregnancy. A father’s involvement before his child is born plays an important role in preventing death during the first year of life – particularly if the infant is Black. During infancy, fathers can support mothers in breastfeeding and in following safe sleep guidelines, both of which can reduce infant deaths.
Unfortunately, we often ignore the role of fathers in the birth experiences of women.1 Many Black men are already disenfranchised from their ability to participate in fatherhood due to structural racism and its real-life impacts on lower wages, chronic unemployment, discriminatory hiring practices, a history of mass incarceration, inequity in educational opportunities, and other factors, that disproportionately affect Black men in America.2
1. University of South Florida (USF
Health). (2010, June 17). Father involvement in pregnancy could
reduce infant mortality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 19, 2019
2. Smith, Michael D. (2017, January 10). The dangerous myth of the ‘missing black father’. Washington Post. Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/10/the-dangerous-myth-of-the-missing-black-father/.
Yet despite these hurdles, Black fathers persevere and are:
More likely to be involved in caring for their children than White and Hispanic fathers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2013, December 20). Fathers’ Involvement with their Children, United States. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr071.pdf
More likely (70%) to have bathed, dressed, diapered, or helped their children use the toilet every day compared with White fathers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2013, December 20). Fathers’ Involvement with their Children, United States. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr071.pdf
More likely than White fathers to take children to activities or help their kids with homework every day. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2013, December 20). Fathers’ Involvement with their Children, United States. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr071.pdf
The following are some resources from the March of Dimes and other
organizations related to taking care of yourself and planning for your
family’s baby. Many links include videos and infographics for more
information. Be sure to also review our Know Your Rights document to ensure you have the
best care and treatment during your partner’s pregnancy and
Research shows that Black moms face clear, race-based inequalities,
particularly when there are gaps in health insurance. If your
partner received poor treatment during their pregnancy or childbirth
experience, it is important you let your health plan know.
You’ll find resources to respond, regardless of your insurance status.
Below is information to make a complaint, based on your health
“I was oblivious to the fact that a woman that was in exceptional health, who was obsessive about her prenatal care, who did everything right, who was healthy and who was supposed to be at one of the best hospitals in the country would walk in and not walk out to raise her boys…”
Charles Johnson, When Women Die in Childbirth, These are the Fathers Left Behind