Elaine Welteroth, Serena Williams, midwife, services

Elaine Welteroth And Serena Williams Team Up To Improve Healthcare For Mothers With BirthFUND

Elaine Welteroth and Serena Williams are tackling the Black Maternal Health crisis through the newly launched BirthFUND.

Elaine Welteroth has enlisted the help of Serena Williams and other high-profile celebrities to help provide midwifery services to mothers in need.

The journalist and “Project Runway” star kicked off Black Maternal Health Week on Thursday, April 11, by announcing the launch of her “birthcare revolution” BirthFUND. With a goal of combatting the Black maternal health crisis plaguing the U.S., Welteroth teamed up with Williams to help improve the outcomes for mothers.

“We’re done waiting for someone else to fix what’s broken. It’s on us to save us. One family at a time,” Welteroth wrote in an Instagram announcement.

The same day, Time released an essay penned by Welteroth and Williams where they addressed why “We Shouldn’t Have to be Willing to Die to Give Birth in the United States.” In the op-ed, the former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue and the tennis champion shared their own birthing experiences and facts about the 3,400 women that have died since Welteroth and Williams gave birth.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research showing that Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, the importance of Welteroth’s BirthFUND is that much greater.

“Having babies in America was a wake-up call for both of us. Like many parents, and first-time parents at that, we never anticipated the harrowing experiences we’d have on the road to becoming mothers,” they shared. “We have both accomplished a lot in our lives and careers—from Grand Slams to history-making career appointments—needless to say, we can do hard things.”

“But nothing made us feel as disempowered as being pregnant and Black in America, left to rely upon a medical system that is statistically failing people who look like us.”

The essay continued. “The CDC reports Black women are three times more likely to die during and after childbirth than white women. Giving birth shouldn’t have made us fearful for our lives, but we both were. And the overall picture isn’t good for any of us. Many people still think of the maternal health crisis as a far-away problem. It is not. Nearly half of mothers in this country label their births as traumatic.”

The BirthFUND is supported by a coalition of Founding Family Funders who raised money to support out-of-pocket midwifery care for families in need. Funders include Williams and her husband, Alexis Ohanian, Savannah James, Ayesha Curry, Kelly Rowland, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, and Karlie Kloss.

Solving the Black maternal health crisis will take a lot of hard work, dedication, and change from the medical institutions to the government. But Welteroth and Williams are confident that the servicing of midwives will help in leading the charge.

“Our goal with birthFUND is to help remove financial barriers to quality care and to expand both education and choice. No matter where or how they decide to give birth, parents deserve access to safe, dignified care,” they wrote.

“Right now, that human right is out of reach for far too many. It’s taking too long to fix what’s broken. We are ready to tackle this issue, head on. We hope families—and companies—all over the country will join us.”

Those looking to support the BirthFUND can get involved by donating, joining, or following the organization on social media.

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