When Brianna first found out she was pregnant, she was elated. However, she soon became aware of the numerous obstacles she would face during her pregnancy. She had difficulties with morning sickness and retaining water, and after a trip to the emergency room her pregnancy was labeled as high risk.

On top of these health challenges, several doctors refused to help her, she believes, because of her race. Therefore, she frequently drove five hours to visit a doctor in Philadelphia who would treat her fairly. During work hours, Brianna often felt so ill she had to leave meetings to visit the bathroom while colleagues covered for her absence.

Women of color have a higher risk of maternal morbidity and mortality, and Black women are three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than white women. In 1,000 Days’ 2020 report, Qualitative Paid Leave Report 2020: Furthering Our Case for Paid Leave in the United States, participants of color all said they struggled to find high-quality prenatal care. 

Brianna participated in a video for the report, where she told her story and the difficulties she faced as a pregnant woman. Her experience illustrates the many challenges pregnant women face in states without guaranteed paid family leave like Pennsylvania.

In fact, a lack of paid leave is the biggest obstacle for working women in the U.S. during the first 1,000 days with their child.  Nearly a third of the mothers in the qualitative report said that employers were not understanding of all their postpartum needs, most commonly needing more time off.

“The case for paid family leave is simple. We deserve time to be able to get comfortable with the changes we’re going through…We deserve time to be able to get to know the children we birth.” 

Read more at 1,000 Days.