W2 Activity: When the Bough Breaks

I did not do very well on the quiz, four out of ten correct one of the answers that I found most interesting was that health in the United States was most closely related to wealth. I got this question correct but only because I guessed because of the surprising answers that preceded that question. The video I chose from the unnatural causes episodes was “When the Bough Breaks” this was about the correlation between the high rate of early deliveries and low birth weight for babies of black women in the United States. But the basis for the argument is the it is not race related but rather because these women are under undue stress their whole lives because of racism. So because of this elevated stress during their whole lives when they become pregnant it leads to the complications of low birth weight and not taking the baby to full term. The babies are not taken to full term because they argue that stress hormones can trigger labor which is why black women deliver early because of the stress of racism. Then they also explain the low birth weight by saying the excessive stress can result in a thickening of the uterus wall leading to less nutrients getting to the babies contributing to the low birth rates. Another factor that I found surprising was that as the people were better of financially the more the low birth weight and early births happened. This seems backwards but makes sense when you consider stress, because people that have better jobs are usually under more stress. So this does help prove their hypothesis that stress is a factor towards low birth weight and early births. But as I just described it does not have to be racially motivated stress just constant unrelenting stress over ones lifetime. But because of how prevalent racial prejudices still exist in our country this is why black women are a good candidate to show this correlation.

2 thoughts on “W2 Activity: When the Bough Breaks

  1. Hey Josh!
    Your post was really interesting and the movie you watched sounded pretty good, too. I am not really surprised by the data you presented. When people are under stress it wreaks havoc on their body. It makes sense that when one is pregnant and under stress, the baby is also negatively affected. This seems like a very hard problem to solve. Since stress can come from a multitude of places, one can’t just change one little thing in someone’s life and elevate all of their stress. It seems to me that a majority of stress is financial and related to work. This works on both ends of the spectrum. One with a really lucrative job could experience a lot of stress from the high pressures at work, and one who is struggling financially could be stressed about not having a job in their first place. I think that creating an effective job placement program in poor communities and teaching valuable trade skills would help with this. Also, the installment of excellent sexual education and an availability can help to prevent the stressors of an unwanted pregnancy. This would be a political and economic task that would require a lot of resources and funding, but would have a high pay-off. I think that the government and citizens are to be responsible for this. While it would be expensive, over time the state of the nation would gradually grow to be stronger and more prosperous.

  2. Hello Josh!
    I didn’t watch this episode so thank you for sharing about it. It is heartbreaking to consider how many African American women face such extremely stressful pregnancies and births in the United States. I don’t even know exactly where to begin when considering a solution to this problem because so many issues are deeply rooted in institutionalized racism in this country, and the lack of governmental support and health care for African Americans is beyond alarming. I think there needs to be significant political change to occur to begin bringing protection to African Americans, including equal access to health care and opportunities for education, employment, and equal pay. In general, I feel many women in the United States are forced to work significantly throughout their pregnancy, bringing undue stress on their unborn children. Especially in comparison to other countries where mothers stop working much earlier in the pregnancy and are able to stay on maternity leave for so much longer. I suppose a solution founded in political, economic, and socio-cultural practices would be a step in the right direction.

    I do agree with you that we need better sexual education throughout our country. Not solely in preventing unwanted/unplanned pregnancies, but in preventing the transmission of STD’s as well.

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