“Today it’s becoming more clear that disparities have more to do with racism than race, says Neel Shah, an OB-GYN and a professor at Harvard Medical School.

For a long time there was “this baked-in assumption” that there was something different genetically among black women leading to their higher rates of maternal mortality, he says. But “genetically we are all the same,” he says, and the evidence is strong that it is the chronic effect of the stress of racism, or “weathering” as some researchers describe it, that takes its toll on pregnancy, childbirth and care for a newborn after birth.”

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