Hispanic Women Face Inequities Affecting Maternal Health Outcomes

Courtesy of the American Heart Association
Edited by Lawndale Bilingual News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthCardiovascular disease is the leading cause of maternal death in the U.S. Simply put, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of new moms. As everyone everywhere s ready to celebrate their mothers, the American Heart Association, through its “Stay Fuerte for All” campaign, is raising awareness among Hispanic/ Latina moms, especially during pregnancy, about the importance of managing their blood pressure. On average, about one in every 16 Hispanic women aged 20 and older have coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease.

Hispanic / Latina mothers hold a special place in their homes when it comes to family decisions. They are considered the head of the family for their key role in raising children and teaching younger generations. More than 61 percent of Hispanic/ Latina mothers are also part of the U.S. workforce. These cardiovascular related adverse childbirth outcomes have increased in the U.S., widening racial and ethnic disparities. This poses a threat to women’s heart health during pregnancy and later in life, making it important that women understand how to care for themselves and their babies.

The Association is expanding its “Stay Fuerte for All” awareness campaign to reach and engage Latinas through educational social media efforts, tools and resources leveraged through our strategic alliances to support women during all stages of maternal care, starting with the importance of managing their blood pressure. Blood pressure is the key vital sign to detecting hypertensive disorders, like preeclampsia, in pregnancy. Physical changes associated with menopause also increase a woman’s risk of developing high blood pressure. In fact, women of Black and Hispanic ethnicity may develop high blood pressure at a younger age and have a higher average blood pressure than other racial groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Heart Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives, advises Latina mothers to keep their blood pressure under control, and the first step is knowing their numbers by visiting their clinic, doctor’s office, or local pharmacy to check it. For more information and tips on maternal health and managing blood pressure at all stages of pregnancy, visit GoRedForWomen.org/Pregnancy and National Hypertension Control Initiative.

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