The Alabama Birth Equity Committee and Shafia Monroe Consulting are hosting the Alabama Black Midwives Conference this Friday and Saturday at the Hotel Capstone and Bryant Conference Center to bring awareness to the higher-than-average maternal mortality rate among Black mothers and the need for midwives in the state.

According to a press release, the purpose of the conference is to "celebrate, educate, and discuss the passage of HB 315 which authorized midwives to practice community birth in Alabama."

Passed in 2017, the bill legally established the ability for midwives to perform community births in the state of Alabama.

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The conference will allow attendees to engage with fellow community members, midwives, doulas, birth workers, educators and students from Alabama and around the nation to advocate for infant and maternal health in African American communities.

According to statistics provided in the release, as of 2018, Alabama ranks third in the nation for maternal deaths with a maternal mortality rate of 36.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 births, more than twice as high as the national average of 17.4. The MMR rate for African American women between 2011 to 2015 was 27.6 percent.

The conference will also feature a Black Midwives Exhibit, which will chronicle the history and experiences of Black midwives in Alabama during the early 20th century.

For more information or to register to attend, visit www.alabamablackmidwivesconference.ua.edu. Registration will close on May 18.

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