Byline: Blair Krassen and Jessica Washington
After a 2021 of constant assault on the bodies and rights of women, the need for candor in health, courage in legislation, and insight in care is crucial. DW has followed the abortion ban from its inception. Now, with cases looming in the Supreme Court, the need for guidance on how women can manage their health and wellness is even more pressing.
As seen on Today, Steve Harvey, The Real and more, OB/GYN and VeryWell Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jessica Shepherd speaks to DW about the issues that are important to the women of Texas and the Black community — such as finding the best OB/GYN, the racial disparity within healthcare and the abortion ban. We appreciate her willingness to speak so openly and unapologetically about these issues as well as provide resources to women seeking abortions.
Can you first start by saying the importance of OB/GYN care within the Black community. Is there a difference that you’ve seen in the care that women of color receive as opposed to White women?
As a board certified OB/GYN and board certified Black physician, there is a stark difference in the treatment of women of color in pregnancy to that of White women. What we have seen nationally through pregnancy, and also in the postpartum phase, is that there is a staggering difference in statistics that lead to increase in maternal mortality admission to ICU for babies and also in the postpartum phase care that women get — whether that’s with mental health care or with the care that’s needed as far as post partum complications that can come with postpartum hemorrhage, postpartum hypertension and gestational diabetes.
What are some of the main things women should be looking for when seeking out an OB/GYN?
When looking for care as a newly pregnant woman or [when] planning for pregnancy, it is very important to ensure that the relationship you have with your OB/GYN is one that advocates for you as a patient and allows you to voice your concerns, your opinions, your questions during the pregnancy phase.
It is also important to ensure that you get the access to care and the resources that are going to be needed during pregnancy. If there are any pre-pregnancy conditions, such as diabetes or hypertension, or any concerns that have preceded this pregnancy with previous pregnancies, it is important that you also get care with a high risk doctor and make sure that throughout the process, you are getting the best care for yourself as well as for your baby.
Other things that are important are the hospital that you choose to deliver in, ensuring that you get the care — whether that’s with an OB/GYN [or someone else] — that they have the credentials to deliver at the hospital you would like to deliver at. Also, having supportive care and staff during the delivery …….