Mindfulness for Black maternal health | Karen Sheffield-Abdullah | TEDxDeerfield

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Mindfulness for Black maternal health | Karen Sheffield-Abdullah | TEDxDeerfield

Mindfulness as a Solution for Black Perinatal Women

  • Black women experience worse pregnancy outcomes due to healthcare bias, unique stressors, and anxiety.
  • Mindfulness can reduce stress and anxiety but is not frequently accessed by black women.
  • Traditional mindfulness programs often do not resonate with the lived experiences of black women.
  • Creating a culturally relevant mindfulness program tailored to black perinatal women is crucial.

Superwoman Schema Framework

  • The Superwoman schema framework suggests that sociocultural and historical events have caused black women to adopt certain characteristics, such as maintaining an image of strength, suppressing emotions, and helping others at the expense of their own health.
  • A study found that black pregnant and postpartum women who endorsed higher levels of Superwoman schema had higher levels of anxiety, depression, and stress, and lower levels of mindfulness, self-compassion, and mindful self-care.

Stress and Anxiety in Black Perinatal Women

  • Black women are more likely to experience maternal mental health conditions but less likely to receive care.
  • Stress and anxiety are key contributors to preterm birth.
  • Black pregnant women face unique stressors, including judgments and assumptions made by society, the stigma associated with being black and pregnant, and concerns about raising a black son in a society where they may be perceived as a threat.

Addressing Health Disparities

  • Addressing health disparities requires shifting perspectives, valuing lived experiences, and co-creating solutions.
  • Structural and social drivers of health, such as provider bias and systemic racism, must be addressed to affect meaningful change.
  • Potential solutions include exploring payment structures where insurance companies cover the cost of integrative mental health approaches, advocating for improved perinatal mental health policies, and educating healthcare professionals in culturally humble mindfulness practices.
  • Collaboration at individual, community, and systemic levels is crucial to create a culturally inclusive vision for solutions.

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