There is a misconception all women are the same. It's true that women are the same fundamentally, but the amazing thing is, their background somehow makes women unique in subtle and unimaginable ways. A woman’s background determines so many things, from biologically all the way to socially.
Look at it this way, most black women grow up in extended families. Sundays are social days, when they enjoy soul food with twenty of the aunties and uncles and have fun as a family. A white woman is rarely around the extended family, enjoying instead Sunday brunch with one or two relatives. These as generalizations, of course, but they are sure to ring true nonetheless for many. While both women may be pros in the kitchen, there are some who wouldn't even be able to boil pasta without having the water spill out everywhere.
So what does a woman’s race say about her pregnancy? Plenty. For a condition that knows no race, pregnancy separates women along racial lines. There are those who have a smooth pregnancy and there are those most likely to go through hell and wind up on the operating table. Read on to find out how.
15 How Long She Will be Pregnant
When a woman is pregnant, she usually takes care of herself better. Suddenly she is plunged into a world where what she puts in her body affects not just her but her baby too. A mother who previously had no idea what a balanced diet was, now frets over the fact that her meal has too many carbs and no proteins. Then starts nausea, the fatigue and the sleepless nights of turning and tossing, trying to find a comfortable position and adhere to the doctors’ order to sleep on the side. The search is usually futile.
By the time a woman is clocking 38 weeks, she is so tired she can’t wait to kick out her guest. Imagine being informed that no, you will wait longer because you are white! Sounds crazy right? According to Oxford Academic, there was a study carried out in the UK that explored what the factors are that are associated with preterm deliveries in different races.
This study discovered that gestation is shorter (because the fetus may mature earlier) in Afro-Caribbean and UK Africans, owing to higher levels of meconium in the amniotic fluid. All the more good news for those who fall into this category.
14 The Chances Of A Stillbirth
Being pregnant can put a woman in constant panic mode. One is never sure whether that painkiller will bring issues or that cold will be the reason her dream is not realized. The worst is thinking that any untoward eventuality could be her fault.
She tries to control her dos and don’ts and waits with bated breath hoping against hope that the heavens will favor her and nothing will go wrong.
Amidst all this anxiety, the most devastating news is hearing that her ethnicity could be the reason why she has a stillbirth.
Forget cocktails and all the other substances, there is something else completely beyond her control. According to ABC, for South Asian and African born women, the 41-week mark may be too late and there is the need to set an alarm clock at around 39 weeks of gestation.
Dr Davies-Tuck said "We saw that the risk of stillbirth for a South Asian mother at 39 weeks was equivalent to an Australian-born mother at 41 weeks and that's when we would normally start to offer intervention because of the risk". This is because they have shorter pregnancies and tend to carry smaller babies. They, therefore, require closer observation to prevent this unfavorable eventuality.
13 The Baby Pounds Won’t Go Away That Fast
Remember when Kim Kardashian shed that baby fat before you could say ‘boo?’ That’s thanks to her genes. Or when Beyoncé came back looking all scrumptious and chiseled? That is not the norm and do not think it happens that first. Black women rarely shed the weight as fast as that and even when they do, it takes a lot of hard work. A lot! This is the kind of work where you spend days in the gym and eat questionable food. On average, 63 percent of the black women population has a BMI that puts them in the obese bracket after the birth of a baby.
Black women do not gain enough fat during pregnancy, but when a black woman has a child, the fluids she drinks to increase milk supply and the soul food to ‘put things back in place’ and help her regain her strength do not do her any favors. Once the fat is gained, getting rid of it takes another batch of crazy detox diets to dislodge. Being fat is not a problem, however, according to BabyCenter, along with obesity, comes a greater risk of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, coronary heart disease, etc.
12 Higher Chance Of Preeclampsia
Of all the things that could go wrong in a pregnancy, high blood pressure is the worst. While black women enjoy shorter pregnancies (hooray for them!), the risks of getting gestational hypertension is also higher. Women are told to let go of all the things going on around her and to focus on her pregnancy.
Try as she may sometimes this is just too hard and in some cases, she winds up with hypertension that is pregnancy-induced.
With this comes the risk of preeclampsia. According to the author of Stanford Children's, preeclampsia happens when the protein level in the urine increases along with gestational hypertension. So if gestational hypertension can be prevented, so can preeclampsia. Depending on the condition and severity, gestational hypertension can be treated with bed rest, fetal monitoring as well as hospitalization.
While some of these things are not easy to predict and it is not easy to tell exactly why this is prevalent in black women, it would seem that genetics have a role to play in this unfortunate outcome and so do environmental issues. Trying to minimize the environmental effects could help reduce chances of preeclampsia, but no one can do anything about their genes.
11 The Risk Of Gestational Diabetes & C-Sections
No one wants anything bad to happen to their unborn child and no one ever wants to do anything to hurt their unborn child. Most women take care of their pregnancies and avoid all those things they think may affect their children.
Some women go as far as eating no sugar during pregnancy and some pregnancies even have issues with this. Even with this, most Asian women who marry white men are at high risk of getting gestational diabetes.
According to Reuters, Hispanic and Asian women have a higher risk of getting gestational diabetes when they are pregnant. Women who have partners from these two backgrounds are also at risk. It was found that gestational diabetes was 41% more if the father was Asian and 29% more if the father was Hispanic.
Gestational diabetes occurs when hormones made by the placenta leads to a rise in blood glucose. If the pancreas does not make enough insulin, it leads to a buildup of blood sugar and gestational diabetes. With gestational diabetes, the fetus grows big. The pelvis of an Asian woman is not able to handle a big baby and this is why a pregnant Asian woman requires closer monitoring as natural birth in her case may be unlikely.
10 Higher Risk Of Losing The Baby
There is a worldwide call to try and reduce maternal mortality and most countries have a call for beyond zero maternal and infant mortality rates. It is sad that in this day and age, some women still lose their lives trying to bring a life into this world. The mortality rate is very high in some countries and especially so in African countries where the health care leaves a lot to be desired.
In the US, it appears that black women have a higher rate of mortality than white women.
Black women are more inclined to suffer from preeclampsia and this could be a likely reason why the mortality rate is so high. Poor healthcare has also been observed in the black population and it could be more reason for the high risk of preeclampsia.
According to the LATimes, in Texas, black women are dying at alarming rates. An obstetrician-gynecologist, Lisa Hollier said, "So we have a population of women that is less healthy when they are entering pregnancy".
In a 2016 joint report by the department of state health, it found out that black women accounted for 11.04 percent of births and 28.8 percent of deaths in 2012. Pregnant women, regardless of their race need closer monitoring and hopefully, maternal mortality will be reduced.
9 More Likely To Have A Girl
Women are funny creatures. There are some who want a girl for some flimsy reason like wanting to put beads in her curly hair and turn her into a ‘mini-me.' Then there is that woman who wants to have a boy. A little prince that will remind her of the man she loves or because she dreams of her husband and son bonding over playing catch.
As much as we all have different reasons for wanting a child of one gender or the other, we all agree a baby is a blessing and there are those who are unable to conceive and couldn’t care less what gender baby they get as long as they are given one. It appears black women are more likely to have girls, mainly because most African women have more than one baby and research shows that the more children a woman has, the more chances of her having a girl.
8 In Need Of An Epidural
It is often stated that black women have a higher pain tolerance. But do they? It would appear that black women, Asian women, and Hispanic women rarely go for an epidural and are traditionally more inclined to go for natural birth. Epidural is nothing but a local anesthetic (generally local anesthesia is combined with narcotics or opioids) that stops the pain entering a particular part or region of the body. So epidural helps a lot during the labor time as well as the birthing process.
It could be that less and less of these women have insurance coverage or it could be that they are not in a position to access pain management drugs and hence they don't opt out of the epidural anesthesia.
Whatever the case, it would appear that all factors taken into consideration, white women are less likely to go through childbirth freestyle. In sub-Saharan Africa, an epidural is very, very rare and in most cases is too expensive for an average woman to afford. It would appear that in this case, that as much as most people would want to have access to it, white women are luckier and can access an epidural most times they scream for it.
7 Your Baby May Show Up Earlier
We all know that a baby is born after nine months and most of us count nine months as 36 weeks. We get very disappointed when we realize that the pregnancy will go for 40 weeks and we are thinking, ‘So I will be pregnant for 10 whole months?!’ For a woman, having a baby come early is great as long as the baby is ‘well cooked.’ It is, however, not so great getting a preterm baby. A preterm baby is one whose birth is before 37 weeks and these babies are more likely to be in the hospital longer than the babies that are born later than 37 weeks.
A preterm baby comes with so many risks. One of them being increased chances of death. According to Marchofdimes, a premature baby can have many disabilities including problems in behavior, autism, neurological disorders, asthma, BPD, hearing problems, infections, problems related to teeth, problems with vision. Environmental factors play a huge role in the success or failure of a full term pregnancy. It would appear that black moms are more likely to be exposed to air pollution, as well as other pollutants, thus raising the chance of her baby coming earlier than expected.
6 You Will Breastfeed
Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their children as breastfeeding has been determined to have so many benefits to the infant. Breastfeeding seems to give the infant a lot more immunity to fight diseases due to the antibodies present in it, which at this tender age is very important. Studies have also shown that breastfed babies have a higher IQ than their formula-fed counterparts and who doesn't want a genius to brag about? According to WebMD, breastfeeding also bonds the mother and the child as due to their touching and eye contact. It is also seen that in most of the cases, the breastfed baby gains the right weight when they grow and not become overweight as children.
Studies now show that Spanish speaking Hispanics are more enthusiastic about breastfeeding than their black counterparts.
But it is seen that today, black women rarely breastfeed, preferring to formula feed instead. The reasons people give for not breastfeeding are diverse and questionable sometimes as well. For some, they genuinely cannot breastfeed due to low milk supply, while for others, the hassle of breastfeeding is just not for them, and for others, the reasons are merely cosmetic and they are afraid the girls will sag.
5 You Will Push Out A Big Baby
We have heard of people saying a woman has child-bearing hips. In earlier years, a woman was more likely to be considered for courtship based on this fact alone. It was quite common to hear a mother-in-law being opposed to a new daughter-in-law because she does not have the ‘ hips.’ Unlike black and Asian women, white women have ‘child-bearing hips,' which means they have a wider pelvis.
That is not the only thing that is unique to this race. Apart from their ‘hips,' white babies are bigger, longer and with bigger heads. I guess that's why God gave them the wider pelvis. The wide pelvis reduces the need for a C-section for white women and this is why the prevalence of C-sections is higher among Hispanics and Asians, as well as the blacks.
4 Teen Pregnancy
Nowadays, seeing a teenage mother is not something new or strange. Teenage pregnancies are on the rise. As more and more teenagers gain literacy, the more liberal they get and the more they engage in illicit sex. According to Business Mirror, Dr. Jean S. Tay said, "We have to teach them that pregnancy is not a set outcome of something pleasurable. What we want [these teenagers] to realize the responsibility that is a gift given to those who are bound to each other for a lifetime".
This trend seems to be prevalent among Latina and black girls who are seen to be two times more likely to have babies in their teenage years than white girls. This trend is highest among minorities living in poorer towns and rural areas.
When teenagers are living in poverty-stricken homes they are more likely to engage in sex early due to desperation and a lack of opportunity. In these areas, healthcare is not accessible and the information is also not that easy to come by. Most of these teens come from homes where their own mothers were teenagers mothers and so it becomes a case of one kid raising the other and with no one to offer guidance, chances are the teen will become a mother as well.
3 Your Morning Sickness Won’t Be As Bad
That first feeling of wanting to throw up is what tells a woman ‘I am not alone.’ That feeling of sickness the minute her feet hit the ground is what makes her aware she is pregnant. Morning sickness is mild in some and in others it is missing completely.
According to BabyCenter, while morning sickness is truly uncomfortable, it could be a sign one won’t have a miscarriage. Morning sickness is just a term, but the duration may vary from person to person. For some, nausea is just in the morning and for other pregnant women, it can last for the whole day. It is seen that generally in those who already have problems related to migraine, motion sickness or nausea itself.
Not having nausea does not, however, mean they are. The other good thing for those who fall into this demographic is that black and Asian women have an easier ride when it comes to morning sickness in the first trimester. There are some tribes that do not get morning sickness at all. probably due to their diet. Either way, some people are just lucky, as we believe getting or not getting morning sickness is a game of luck.
2 A Lot More Energy
When a woman is pregnant, tying her shoelaces is a challenge. The doctor says walk as much as possible and exercise as often as you can, but when it comes to pregnancy, your resolution to keep active goes out the window the minute the fatigue hits and the fatigue is a lot!
It turns out, black women are able to maintain a healthier lifestyle than their white counterparts during pregnancy. They have a lot more energy and will exercise more, as well as take care of other duties. They are also better at taking care of themselves too during pregnancy, which is a good thing at this delicate time.
Unlike the white and Hispanic population, which often has a lot more support during pregnancy, black women have less support and have to be self-sufficient during pregnancy and even go through labor on their own. Girl power is a real thing with the blacks.
1 You Don’t Touch These Things
The side effects of drugs and alcohol are many and are subject to a high debate. These side effects seem to multiply the minute a woman gets pregnant. The chances of a woman having a baby with birth defects are higher if the woman takes drugs and alcohol. Women are also more likely to have babies with low birth weight, as well as increased incidences of stillbirths as well as miscarriages.
According to BabyCenter, research has shown that with mothers who drink only once a week have had children who have later shown aggressive behavior.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can also lead to the child's speech problem, learning problem, hyperactivity, attentivity, defects in the heart, problems in central nervous system and also that the facial features may not grow normally.
Even knowing all this some women are prone to making bad decisions that affect the unborn baby. Hispanic women, however, have reported the lowest rates of alcohol and drug abuse during pregnancy. Pregnant white women are more prone to smoking, while the illicit use of drugs is highest among black women. It would appear that Hispanic women are most likely to make good decisions when it comes to their unborn children. That is quite commendable.