The Lived Experience of Pregnancy as a Black Woman in America: A Descriptive Phenomenological Case Study Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: Health disparities in childbearing black women in the United States have continued through multiple decades despite overall improvements in pregnancy-related outcomes for other ethnicities. Pregnancy outcomes for black women include greater risks of maternal mortality, severe morbidity, as well as preterm and low birthweight infants. From a person-centered perspective, the description of the lived experiences of adversity for pregnant black women is missing from the literature. This omission is believed to attribute to the continued health disparities in this population. METHODS: While the study was originally designed using focus group methodology for data collection for a larger number of voices, the resulting analysis of one participant provides a strong case study of the lived experience of one woman during pregnancy. A qualitative design using a phenomenological approach with hermeneutic interpretation was used. RESULTS: Three themes emerged from the data analysis process, mothering in a scary world, just being another black woman, and being a strong black woman. CONCLUSIONS: The results provide a foundation and experience to move forward with a refined recruitment approach to ensure that more voices are heard in the quest to improve maternal services for black women.

published proceedings

  • Online Journal of Interprofessional Health Promotion

author list (cited authors)

  • Gary, J. C., Dormire, S. L., Norman, J., & Harvey, I. S

complete list of authors

  • Gary, JC||Dormire, SL||Norman, J||Harvey, IS

publication date

  • February 2020