Post Reports

The power of black motherhood: Finding joy beyond the numbers on maternal mortality

Helena Andrews-Dyer looks for joy in her pregnancy in the face of scary statistics about black women and childbirth. And Peter Holley explains what life after death could look like, thanks to new technology.
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Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.

In this episode

‘It’s about changing the entire system’
The United States has the highest rate of pregnancy-related deaths among developed nations, with about 700 deaths occurring each year as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that black women are three to four times as likely to die of pregnancy-related complications as white women. The disparity reflects issues that go beyond education and income: In 2018, Beyoncé and Serena Williams shared their life-threatening experiences during childbirth as black women with access to the best medical care. 

“It can leave you with this insidious sort of fear,” columnist Helena Andrews-Dyer says. 
Andrews-Dyer spent months during her own complicated pregnancy talking to other black women about how to balance staying informed of medical realities, without getting consumed by the anxiety that, because of their race, they won’t get the care they deserve.

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The next phase in the human quest for immortality?
For decades, Silicon Valley futurists have sought to unchain humanity from the corporeal life cycle, viewing death as a transformational problem in need of a solution. And now, they might have cracked it.

“In the past, we memorialize people who have died by posting photos on Facebook or sharing old movies,” technology reporter Peter Holley says. “This is a totally different way of thinking about how we interact.”

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The Sept. 6 episode of Post Reports, “The power of black motherhood,” incorrectly stated pregnant women are eligible for health-care coverage under Medicare; they are eligible under Medicaid. The audio has been updated.

About Post Reports

Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.