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Black Maternal Mortality: Two Of Tori Bowie’s Olympic Teammates Almost Died During Childbirth

Source: Ian MacNicol / Getty

The Olympic teammates of Tori Bowie, the track star who lost her life due to complications of childbirth, are sharing their life-threatening pregnancy experiences to bring attention to the maternity mortality crisis facing Black women in America.

On May 2, Tori Bowie’s body was discovered after police were called to a welfare check on the athlete after friends and family have not heard from her in days. 

According to an autopsy performed by the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office, Bowie was about eight months pregnant with a “well-developed fetus” when she was found dead, USA Today reported.

Bowie’s teammates took to social media after the autopsy results, sharing their childbirth horror stories and spotlighting the maternal mortality rate among Black women.

“THREE (3) of the FOUR (4) of us who ran on the SECOND fastest 4x100m relay of all time, the 2016 Olympic Champions have nearly died or died in childbirth,” Tianna Madison wrote on Instagram under a photo she shared of her and her relay teammates. “WTF. Why? Black women have the HIGHEST maternal mortality rate. 3 times higher than white women. And the more educated the black woman, the higher her mortality rate becomes. In fact, even though I went into labor at 26 weeks we went to the hospital with my medical advance directive AND my will.”

She also mentioned that she even had conversations with her partner Charles Ryan about whom to save if her life was in jeopardy. 

“Additionally I had a VERY tough conversation with [Charles Ryan] about who to save if it came down to it. I was NOT AT ALL confident that I’d be coming home,” she wrote.

Allyson Felix, who has been open in the past about her struggles during childbirth, hopped into the comments section to stand with her fellow Gold-medalist. 

“It’s heartbreaking,” Felix wrote. “We continue to face a maternity mortality crisis in this country. Black women are at risk. It’s why I won’t stop doing this work. We can’t sit by and continue to watch our loved ones die when many of these complications are preventable. Standing with you T.”

When Felix gave birth to her son in 2018, she with severe preeclampsia and had to undergo an emergency C-section at 32 weeks. The life-threatening experience has changed her life completely and now Felix looks to help others become aware of the maternity mortality crisis Black women face. 

“I am extremely proud to be an elite athlete and to have this legacy on the track, but it doesn’t stop there,” Felix wrote in the New York Times.

 “I am more than a sprinter. More than an Olympian. I am a mom. If I can use my voice and platform to speak on the inequalities facing Black pregnant women and the Black maternal mortality rate, I absolutely will.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Black women dominate the maternal mortality rate with “significantly higher than rates White and Hispanic women,” citing statistics from 2021. The disparity has nothing to do with education or socio-economic levels.


Tori Bowie’s Autopsy Results Spotlight The Lingering Black Maternal Health Crisis

Olympian Allyson Felix Teams Up With Pampers To Address Black Maternal Health Crisis

The post Black Maternal Mortality: 2 Of Tori Bowie’s Olympic Teammates Almost Died During Childbirth appeared first on NewsOne.

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