A bed in the neonatal intensive care unit at Broward Health in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Far more American women deliver their babies prematurely than any other Western country, leading to maternal and infant deaths, billions of dollars of intensive care, and lifelong disabilities for the children who survive. (DIANA DWYER/BROWARD HEALTH)
By Sarah Varney, Kaiser Health News (KHN), March 16, 2023
Tamara Etienne’s second pregnancy was freighted with risk and worry from its earliest days — exacerbated by a first pregnancy that had ended in miscarriage.
A third-grade teacher at an overcrowded Miami-Dade County public school, she spent harried days on her feet. Financial worries weighed heavy, even with health insurance and some paid time off through her job.
And as a Black woman, a lifetime of racism had left her wary of unpredictable reactions in daily life and drained by derogatory and unequal treatment at work. It’s the sort of stress that can release cortisol, which studies have shown heighten the risk for premature labor.