Document Type



Media is loading

Publication Date



Presentation: 7:41

Poster attached as supplemental file below


This scoping review investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health outcomes of mothers racialized as Black (MRB) in the United States. Despite efforts to address maternal health disparities, MRB continue to face disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing disparities, posing significant challenges to maternal health outcomes for MRB.

Studies indicate that MRB are at increased risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 infection and experiencing severe maternal morbidity. Additionally, COVID-19 has been associated with adverse perinatal outcomes, including preterm birth and unplanned operative delivery, among MRB. Psychological outcomes, such as postpartum depression and anxiety, have also been affected, with some studies reporting heightened levels of stress and negative mental health impacts during the pandemic. However, there are conflicting findings regarding the psychological effects of COVID-19 on MRB.

Moreover, the pandemic has amplified socioeconomic disparities and barriers to healthcare access for MRB, exacerbating existing challenges in accessing prenatal care and mental health services. Pandemic-related challenges, such as job loss and food insecurity, have further compounded these disparities. Despite these challenges, digital interventions and telemedicine services show promise in improving healthcare access for MRB.

This review highlights the urgent need for comprehensive research and interventions to address the maternal health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for MRB. Strategies such as cultural sensitivity training, increased access to diverse healthcare providers, and digital health literacy interventions can help mitigate disparities and improve maternal health outcomes for MRB. Further research is needed to explore long-term effects and interventions to support MRB during future crises.

Lay Summary

This scoping review examines the literature to learn the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health outcomes of mothers who are racialized as Black (MRB) in the United States. It explores the issue of maternal health inequities, specifically focusing on the health outcomes of Black mothers in the United States after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maternal health is crucial for the well-being of future generations, yet the US struggles with high rates of preventable maternal deaths. Even before the pandemic, Black mothers faced drastically higher risks of pregnancy-related complications and maternal deaths compared to other racialized groups. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened existing inequalities, affecting vulnerable populations.

This scoping review aims to explore existing research on how COVID-19 has influenced various aspects of health for MRB in the US. The findings reveal a concerning trend: Black mothers are at increased risk of unfavorable pregnancy and birth outcomes due to COVID-19, including higher rates of preterm birth, the condition of severe maternal morbidity, and psychological distress such as postpartum depression and anxiety. The pandemic has worsened socioeconomic inequalities and limited access to healthcare for MRB. Challenges such as job loss, food insecurity, and reduced access to mental healthcare have shown to have been impacted in this population. Systemic racism and discrimination within the healthcare system contribute to inequities in quality of care and access to essential services. Despite some differing results about psychological outcomes, most studies point towards the harmful impact of COVID-19 on the health and well-being of MRB.

The findings of this scoping review highlight an urgent need for policies and interventions to address inequities based on race in the US. Understanding these impacts is crucial for informing efforts to enhance maternal health outcomes and guarantee that all mothers receive the support and care needed for a healthy birth experience. Addressing these inequities could benefit from a multi-layered approach, including culturally sensitive healthcare practices, increased access to mental healthcare, and digital interventions to improve healthcare access.

By understanding the unique challenges faced by Black mothers during the pandemic, healthcare systems can better support this vulnerable population and work towards achieving equitable maternal health outcomes for all.