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Sister Love in Action: African-American Women Helping Women Through Pregnancy and Childbirth

By Julia Rabbia, RN, BSN

African-American women here in Sanford are putting in incredible work to ensure their fellow women are making their way safely through pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood. The program, called Sister Love, aims to support African-American parents to encourage healthy babies and families while reducing the incidence of maternal harm and mortality. The Sister Love program uses a multi-faceted approach to ensure adequate support for the families involved.

Recent research has continued to show a discrepancy in the health outcomes of pregnant and postpartum African-American mothers compared to other racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Here in the United States, African-American mothers have an increased likelihood of having a preterm birth or a baby with low birth weight. Maternal mortality for African-American mothers is 2.5 times higher than that of caucasian mothers in the United States. These discrepancies must be acknowledged, spoken about and addressed - and that is the focus of the Sister Love program.

Sister Love works hard to address the controllable factors that could increase safety and satisfaction of their participants during pregnancy and childbirth. A massive effort goes toward making sure mothers are educated on their bodies, their choices, their pregnancy and their safety. Sister Love educates families on breastfeeding, diet, healthy weight gain, reproductive planning, infant safe sleep, smoking cessation and more to ensure families are set up for success. The program is partnered with a doula service to provide one-on-one personal support and an advocate for mothers during childbirth and the postpartum period.

The Sister Love team is the voice for those who are not being heard, and the advocate for those who are being overlooked. They are there to love, nurture, and support you; to be the family you need when preparing for the world-altering reality that is parenthood. They are here to guide you and walk with you each step of the way, free of bias and judgment. If you or someone you know in the Sanford area could benefit from the Sister Love program, you can find more details and contact information on the program page.

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