Issues that affect women of child-bearing age in the United States

Birth in the United States Research Paper

This paper focuses on major economic, social, ethical and cultural issues that affect women of child-bearing age in the United States. Prevailing issues are associated with risk of reproductive health. The paper discusses issues such as the right to reproductive function, role of racism in maternal and infant mortality, cultural influence on pregnancy and childbearing experiences and how lack of access to maternal services and insurance cover contributes to poor health outcomes.

Access to abortion clinics in the United States is a challenge to many women due to state restrictive laws. Sometimes a woman seeking abortion services have to travel to another state to procure the service. In addition to that, some insurance companies do not cover abortion and thus one is forced to incur high out-of-pocket costs. State legislators across the United States are attempting to restrict abortion at a speed not witnessed in decades. More than 500 restrictions have been passed so far in 2021, more than any other year since 1973 when abortion was legalized. Such restrictions range from near-total ban in states such as Oklahoma and Arkansas to limited abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy in states like Texas and Idaho (Ghildial, 2021).  This means that a women living in such states have no access to abortion services unless they travel to other states like Colorado. This government action is interference in a very private part of the lives of women. women have a right to control their reproductive function. Moreover, restricting abortion to few exceptions can lead to unsafe abortions. Abortion is performed in America but restrictive laws make it difficult for women to access safe abortion services. It is also hotly debated political issue that has divided Americans into prochoice and prolife groups. the former group supports the reproductive right of women to make decision regarding their reproductive function. The latter consider abortion to be murder.

The US has one pf the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the developed world.  Mothers of color and their infants are disproportionately affected due to bias and racism in the healthcare system. Racism undermines the health of women color and their infants. Women of color are dying from preventable complications related to pregnancy at 3 times the rate of Caucasian women, while the mortality rate for infants of color is two times that of infants born to Caucasian mothers (Taylor, Novoa, Hamm, & Phadke, 2019).  Disparities in infant and maternal mortality are ingrained in racism. Racism in social service and healthcare delivery implies that women of color always receive meagre quality of care. It implies the denial of care when women of color seek assistance when suffering pain. It also means that social service and healthcare practitioners fail to handle women of color with respect and dignity. These stressors, along with the experience of sexism and racism, particularly during developmental periods, cause weathering which undermine the mental and physical health of African American women. in addition to that, underinvestment in healthcare and family support programs result in the startling trends in infant and maternal health. Numerous programs that previously supported families in need like nutrition assistance, Medicaid and TANF have experienced significant budget cuts. These budget cuts have negatively affected African American families, who are overrepresented in such programs because of obstacles to economic opportunities. People of color are concentrated in neighborhoods that have limited health facilities and health providers. Draconian policy changes to healthcare programs which disproportionately serve minority ethnic and racial groups are also contributing actors.

Women in rural communities and low-income women are more likely to die during pregnancy (MacDorman, Declercq, & Thoma, 2017). Economic issues have to do with rural access to child-bearing services and limited insurance coverage. Rural communities lack access to quality maternal services due to workforce shortages, obstetric department closure, access to care barriers arising from social determinants of health. Access to child-bearing services during pregnancy is critical. Prenatal care reduces the risk of pregnant-related complication for the other and child. Absent or poor prenatal care can lead to adverse maternal outcomes, such as premature birth, maternal and infant mortality, low-birth weight and increased risk of postpartum depression. Moreover, rural women tend to start prenatal care late due to poor transportation, unplanned pregnancies and lower health literacy (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services n.d). Such disparities affect women of color and American Indians. Insurance coverage in form of Medicaid does cover for perinatal care, particularly in rural areas. However, most women lose their Medicaid coverage two months postpartum. This health coverage loss increases the odds that such women will get inadequate health services and thus increase their risk of mortality.

Cultural practices and beliefs can significantly influence pregnancy and childbirth experiences of a woman. Dietary intake is equally influenced by cultural practices and beliefs. Minnesota is a home to diverse cultures. Maternal and infant mortality outcomes for women of ethnical and racial minority groups is poor in Minnesota. One way to improve this is better cultural understanding of these groups. Healthcare providers must work to make mothers of all cultures comfortable to guarantee a safe childbearing experience. For example, Somalis women living in Minnesota resist family planning, prenatal care and cesarean sections. Due to increasing racial and cultural diversity in the state, health providers need to support women seeking childbearing service with racially concordant care. This recognizes health professionals to recognize and understand a woman’s culturally specific need like complying to a special diet during pregnancy. This will ensure mothers are receiving the care they need.


Maternal health is key for healthy populations. Restrictive laws on abortion are an interference to women’s right for reproductive function and encourage unsafe abortion. Economic barriers, such as lack of insurance cover and lack of access to maternal services result in poor maternal health outcomes. Structural racism and underinvestment in health programs increase the risk of maternal and infant mortality and health disparities. Cultural practices and beliefs play an important role pregnancy and childbirth experiences of a woman and this understanding can help provide culturally sensitive care to women of all cultures.


Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (N.d). Improving Access to Maternal Health Care in Rural  Communities. Issue Brief. Retrieved on June 2, 2021 from

Ghildial, P. (2021). The looming battle over abortion in the US. BBC News. Retrieved on June 2, 2021 from

MacDorman, M.F., Declercq, E., & Thoma, M.E. (2017). Trends in maternal mortality by sociodemographic characteristics and cause of death in 27 states and the District of Columbia. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 129: 811-818.

Taylor, J., Novoa, C., Hamm, K., & Phadke, S. (2019). Eliminating Racial Disparities in Maternal and Infant Mortality: A Comprehensive Policy Blueprint. Center for American Progress. Retrieved on June 2, 2021 from

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