Refocusing the Conduct of Maternal Mortality Research in Black Pregnant Populations: Ethical Considerations

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Introduction: Maternal morbidity and mortality rates are on the rise in the United States, particularly among Black populations. Recently, there has been an uptick in research funding to identify and address root causes, particularly among at-risk groups. However, given the historical trauma experienced by Black populations in research settings, novel approaches built firmly on ethical principles and grounded in a framework of reproductive justice are necessary to minimize harm and center the research process on maintaining the dignity and respect of research participants. Methods: Ethical principles as outlined by the American Nurses Association, Black Mamas Matter Alliance, and federal research guidelines are reviewed within the context of conducting maternal mortality-focused research. In addition, community developed research frameworks and methodologies are presented and discussed within the research context. Conclusions: Black pregnant people have reported mistreatment during clinical encounters; therefore, intentional protections to promote safety must be considered in the research setting. Ethical principles must be considered when designing and implementing research initiatives focused on addressing maternal mortality risk in Black communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • community-based participatory research
  • maternal morbidity
  • maternal mortality
  • reproductive justice
  • research ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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