When Angela Lewis isn’t playing the tough-minded Aunt Louie, ensuring her nephew Franklin’s (Damson Idris) business runs smoothly on the hit FX series “Snowfall,” she is doing all she can to spread awareness Black maternal health crisis in the United States. Lewis, who gave birth to her first child in 2019, has been a vocal advocate for educating Black mothers on the importance of midwifery and doula work. A doula is a trained professional tasked with nurturing and offering nonmedical support to women throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. A midwife is a medical professional responsible for the same. When Lewis gave birth to her daughter Brooklyn, she was fortunate to have both a midwife and doula to help her through childbirth.
“I feel like our health care system is terrible, and I didn’t think birthing would be any different,” Lewis told HuffPost about her experience researching birth work. “So I really set out tle to do something that was a littlganic, a little more holistic, and the more research I did after I became pregnant, the more I was confident that that was the way that I wanted to go. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women are up to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, and that number only increases with age. The CDC cites systemic factors such as the lack of access to proper health care, implicit racial bias, and chronic illnesses as causes of the crisis. Black babies in the United States have over twice the infant mortality rate of white babies, but research suggests that providing mothers with doulas can help improve those numbers.
Lewis’ research pushed her to become a voice for other mothers who may not know about the benefits of birth work — only 6% of mothers who gave birth used a doula, a 2012 survey found. One of the nonprofit organizations Lewis works with to spread awareness is Kindred Space LA, a Black-owned birthing and education facility in Los Angeles. It’s a community of incredible women, a diverse group of women,” Lewis said of Kindred Space LA. “And they really loved on her. They had so much information and knowledge, and they really took career clients.