Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences


Public Health


This paper explores the effect of socioeconomic status on maternal health in an urban setting. Maternal health is an ongoing challenge within the United States. Unfortunately, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S has been identified as one of the worst amongst other industrialized countries. Studies have shown that proper prenatal, delivery, and post-partum care are essential for the well-being of mother and child. Without proper care, the likelihood of pregnancy complications or death occurring becomes higher. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2019), African American women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White women (CDC 2019). This is consistent with the fact that individuals within the African American community have been historically denied opportunities for quality healthcare. The lack of adequate care is particularly detrimental for pregnant African American women. Underlying health issues such as heart disease, hypertension, and thrombotic pulmonary embolism may contribute to the increased rate of pregnancy-related deaths (CDC 2019). However, other factors such as race, geographic location, socioeconomic status, and inadequate care throughout pregnancy are also significant factors (Fogel et al., 2017). One would argue that the racial disparities among women in lower socioeconomic classes seems to be consistent with the lack of access and poor quality of healthcare. A review of relevant literature from peer-reviewed publications was completed using scientific databases such as PubMed. This review's expectation is to better understand this public health dilemma and address any possible strategies that could be implemented to improve women's health within the African American community.