To Prevent Preterm Births, New Program Helps Black Women Be Their Own Advocates

InFresnoCounty,around10percentofallbabiesarebornbefore37weeksofgestation。

That’shigherthanthenationalaverage,andthehighestofallCaliforniacounties。

ForAfrican-Americans,thenumbersareevenmoreconcerning:From2013to2015,blackbabieswere63percentmorelikelytobebornprematurethanwhitebabies。

ButanewprograminFresnoistryingtobringthosenumbersdownbyteachingwomennotjustabouthealth,butalsoaboutleadershipandadvocacy。

AndreaAvilastillbearsthescarsofamedicalemergencysheexperiencedthreedecadesago。

Shewassevenmonthspregnantwithherfirstchildwhenshesaysshefeltanunusualpain。

Sherememberstryingtotellherdoctorsomethingfeltwrong。

“Iwastryingtocallhimandtellhimandhesaid‘no,Ialreadysawyoufortheday,Irefusetoseeyou,’”sherecalls。

“Iwentrightontothehospitalandfromtheretheywerelike,‘youaresoluckythatyoucamein。

’”Herbloodpressureshotup。

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