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Deep Dive: Giving birth in America is becoming more dangerous — especially for people of color

A harsh reality has become increasingly clear in recent years: Giving birth in America is getting more dangerous. Maternal mortality rates have more than doubled in the U.S. between 1999 and 2019, and here in Arizona, Axios Phoenix reports pregnancy-associated deaths have quadrupled. 

The picture is worse for women of color — the worst for Black women, whose rates in Arizona went from 23 deaths per 100,000 live births to 123 deaths in those two decades.

None of it surprises Lakisa Muhammad. As the mother of three and a midwife, she told The Show that she’s seen the kind of discrimination Black women face in the labor and delivery room countless times, and she’s experienced it herself. 

Now, she’s the executive director of the Phoenix Birth Foundation and a groundbreaking group she founded in 2016 called Arizona Birthworkers of Color.

In The Show's latest edition of our new segment, Deep Dive, we spoke with her more about it all. 

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.