When the Bough Breaks: Post-Viewing Activity

After viewing When the Bough Breaks, please response to ONE of the following questions after reading the first quote:

Neonatologist Dr. Richard David says: “there’s something about growing up as a Black female in the United States that’s not good for your childbearing health.”

• What evidence did Dr. Collins and David discover that undercuts genetic explanations for racial disparities in birth outcomes?

• Why is it significant that the daughters of African immigrants had worse birth outcomes than their mothers?

• Why do African American mothers – even those with college degrees – have more low birth-weight babies than white American and African immigrant women?

22 thoughts on “When the Bough Breaks: Post-Viewing Activity

  1. Based on the film, I can say that African American mothers have more low birth-weight babies than white American and African Immigrant women because even though they might have a college degree, they are still being discriminated because of their physical appearance. People tend to discriminate just by looking at others without caring about their education level or their economical status. In the long run, all this discrimination causes them stress which can turns into chronic stress and can affect the development of the baby.

  2. According to the film, African American mothers even with their college degrees still have more low birth-weight babies then white American and African immigrant women because of chronic stress which affected by living day in and day out with discrimination. This chronic stress related with being minority mostly being African American and for some biological purpose it rises the risk of delivering a premature, low birth weight infant.

  3. Why is it significant that the daughters of African immigrants had worse birth outcomes than their mothers?

    It is significant because it shows that living in America is having an affect on these women. Just one generation of an immigrant is affected, we could just imagine whats happening to the women that have been living here their whole life. According to the film, even if your in a middle class black with good income your still able to be affected . We need to act as a whole to fix this problem, setup programs and ways to educate everyone about the subject.

  4. I think that it is significant that the daughters of African immigrants had worse birth outcomes than their mothers because the evidence is suggesting that living in America as an african american child bearing woman is bad for your health. Many people move to this country to make a better life for themselves and their children but maybe this is not the case. If this research was more widely know would women still want to move here and have their babies here knowing the risks of premature birth and low weight babies. Although the woman in the film who’s daughter was born premature ending up beating the odds and developing just fine this is not often the case. Many low birth weight babies experience minor to severe developmental delays, learning disabilities and ADHD. Is that really a better life?

  5. I think that it is significant that the daughters of African immigrants had worse birth outcomes than their mothers because the evidence is suggesting that living in America as an african american child bearing woman is bad for your health. Many people move to this country to make a better life for themselves and their children but maybe this is not the case. If this research was more widely know would women still want to move here and have their babies here knowing the risks of premature birth and low weight babies. Although the woman in the film who’s daughter was born premature ending up beating the odds and developing just fine this is not often the case. Many low birth weight babies experience minor to severe developmental delays, learning disabilities and ADHD. Is that really a better life?

  6. The film showed us that even African American women with college degrees and a healthy lifestyle are still very likely to have babies with low birth weight. Mainly because of the amount of stress they have to constantly indoor. The lawyer in the film, explained how when she goes to a store they don’t see her education or what career she has; all they see is a black women. Someone in class also mentioned the higher up one goes in their career the people start to get whiter which can also affect college educated African American women. Over time these issues have negative affects on the body, which end up, affecting the child.

  7. This is due to the significant amount of stress they face, especially from racial discrimination as stated by the documented video footage. African American mothers even ones with a college education still face racial stress in their daily lives which often starts at birth. They come across this while in public places such as stores, schools and even in their own neighborhood. Being of an African American decent on a whole causes the average women to feel some what inferior to others on top of the actions caused by others. This as stated by the video can cause a drastic outcome in the weight of their new borns. With the addition of stress, the mother can face complications such as the placenta becoming inflamed or swelling occurring around the baby not allowing the child to develop correctly. During our group discussions, we came to the conclusion that this complication of the baby weight might be due to stress over all and should not only be blamed on stress caused by racial discrimination as a mother of a white mother would also face this issue of the baby being under weight but might not be exposed to as much stress as the black mother.

  8. African American mothers even those with college degrees have more low birth-weight babies than white American and African immigrant women because regardless of what the level their education is they still have to face racism on a daily basis. Unfortunately some people are so ignorant that they already have their minds made up about how they feel about certain people and will look down on them whether they have a masters degree or a ged. When African American woman face racism while carrying their child it causes them to react and they get stressed out. The chronic stress can cause low birth weight.

  9. This film had some powerful thoughts that is far from what meets the eye. From the many themes shown, I was surprised when they said that African American women takes only one generation for it to get impact by the low weight birth outcome. I think is the reality that unequal treatment takes effect even before African American women give birth. A perfect example is the lawyer who graduated from an Ivy League school but yet, discrimination/racism still affected her pregnancy despite the specific guidelines she followed. I am a firm believer that racism is the key factor in the high mortality and low birth rate of African American babies. Let’s not forget the society we live in, since is whom we are to blame for this outcome. The less job interviews, the higher insurance rates, the denial of mortgage, etc are just a few factors that affect African American women and their generations to come.

  10. Why do African American mothers – even those with college degrees – have more low birth-weight babies than white American and African immigrant women?

    After viewing this shocking documentry, we all came to a conclusion, which was also mentioned in the film, that the chornic stress caused by racism is the key factor causing premature labor and infant mortality among african american women in the US. Chronic stress due to racism has adverse affects among the offspring leading to a cycle of same distal stressors for the next generation.

    When we started waching the documentry, I thought that perhaps because being a minority, african american dont have access to good health care, education, and jobs, but the study is done on subjects that have access to adequate healthcare, education, and jobs. That was the most shocking part, it baffled us, and made us wonder how come african american women that do not have socioeconomic status issues still have pregnancy issues. Then later in the documentary it was revealed that chornic stress caused by racism through generations is the cause. Which makes a lot of sense, because of this country’s racist past and present as well, minorities especially african american women feel the affects of racism. I believe because african american women who have pushed past their stereotypical roles in society, go through a lot more stress to prove themselves and the society of their worth and right in the high socioeconomic status, than the african american women who dont push past the sterotypical roles. That constant fight against judgmental society can cause chronic stress due to racism, which can have adverse effect on their offspring and the next generation. Stress can cause an imbalance of stress hormones in pregnant women which can cause premature births or can squeeze the placenta causing malnourishment for the fetus in the womb resulting in premature birth or mortality.

  11. Why do African American mothers – even those with college degrees – have more low birth-weight babies than white American and African immigrant women?

    Racism is considered as a key factor in the drop of African American childbirth and increased premature births. The social discrimination that an African American woman goes through her entire life, even when she is educated and highly qualified impacts the pregnancy. The study that considered three groups of women found that American-born African women had been going through unfair circumstance posed by the community towards their racial class and were likely to affect their human body for entire life. Racial abuse may take a physical toll on a human’s entire life as evident by the premature births and low birth rate in this community. The effect lasts for generations, and it, at least, takes one generation for the results to appear. One of the best factors for pregnancy success is education and Healthy lifestyle that must lead to good pregnancy. Even the educated African American women pregnancy was not successful, such as the Kim’s baby premature birth. Preterm birth second leading cause of death of infants and even if they do survive, they are at more risk of diabetes, heart disease risks and many other physical weaknesses that may last for generations. The experiences black females in the US go through, affects the health of childbearing women. Being a member of the minority community in the US makes childbearing mothers go through racism. Racism is taking a toll on American-born African children even before they leave the womb of their mother. Racism is a new risk factor during pregnancy.

  12. I found the video very interesting; it was something I did not know for a fact that was happening among African American population. I totally agree that racism has a lot to do with this problem; that although society does not want to admit, racism is still alive in our day by day life, we even and see racism among black people, however I want to add other factors that may be part of the problem for example African-Americans tend to experience poverty at higher rates than whites American and African immigrant women, beside that they have less access to health care. They also are more likely to suffer health problems like obesity and diabetes, and more likely to use drugs while pregnant. The theory is that black women, regardless of socioeconomic status, are simply exposed to more psychosocial stress. Stress produces hormones that are believed to play an important role in triggering labor in pregnant women. And in black women, the elevated buildup of stress hormones may trigger early labor and other pregnancy problems.

  13. After viewing and understanding this video shown in class. African american mothers with college degrees have more low birth weight babies than white american and african immigrant women. It also shown that these women were exercising on a regular basis going for walks, eating health and not drinking alcohol. They’re babies still came out with low weight. These woman also have to face racism on a daily basis, and by the cause of racism can significantly impact pregnancy for these women. The reason why these African american mothers give birth to premature babies, even when they’re healthy with a solid education. Its due to the racism that causes stress on these mothers.

  14. Why do African American mothers – even those with college degrees – have more low birth-weight babies than white American and African immigrant women?

    African American mothers have lower birth weight babies because of all of the stressors that come with being an African American women. The main stressor is racism in the workplace and in American society. Due to the large amount of discrimination, well racism, on a daily basis this causes mothers to become incredibly stressed to the point where their babies could die.

  15. The video presenting the research done by Dr. Collins and Dr. David was very eye opening. Their research investigated why baby’s of color are two times more likely to be born pre term or below the average weight. Being born pre term or below weight can have myriads of negative effects on the child and the family. Most of these babies will be affected by long term health problems related to the underdevelopment of their lungs. Being placed on supplement breathing apparatuses, at such a young age, can lead to asthma and COPD. There are also long term learning disabilities related to being born pre term. In addition, early family separation can cause bonding issues as it can be more difficult to cultivate bonding while your baby is in a NICU. It’s also extreme expensive. A thirty day hospital stay can cost in excess of sixty eight thousand dollars.
    While it would have been easy to hypothesize that there was a direct correlation between persons of low social economic status (SES) and low birth rate and pre term birth, the data showed that even when SEC status improved low birth rate and early birth remained a constant. Even when the mother followed all the recommended health measures in pregnancy such as taking prenatal vitamins, doing exercise and watching their diet and adhering to medical follow ups with their physicians, early birth and low birth rate persist. Of the developed nations the United States ranks thirty fourth in the world in the percent of babies living to their first birth day. This is way behind less developed nations and nations with much less resources.
    This leads the researchers to believe that there must be another pertinent factor that can’t be attributed to genetic and social economic status that must be the culprit. Of one thousand babies born to a white mother only four were pre term or below weight, but when the mother was black the number went up to ten out of a thousand. Many of the white mothers did not even have a high school education and the number of preterm / low birth increased in the African community after only one generation of living in the United States.
    This led the researchers to believe that there is another component which must be taken into account. The chronic stress of being a colored person in the United States can internally affect a mother no matter of her social economic status.
    The researchers followed a successful black lawyer named Kim who externally appeared to have reached the peak of success but nevertheless had a daughter born two month pre term. One of our classmates pointed out that even today in America we can’t bundle social and economic status into one group. Even being a successful lawyer Kim was still affected by social racism. As she related, that on occasions, she is still followed by sale persons when she shops in upscale shops,. This shows that even though she is living a life of high economic status her social status as a black women is still effected by racism to the extent that the stress of being black can even affect her unborn child.

  16. Neonatologist Dr. Richard David says: “there’s something about growing up as a Black female in the United States that’s not good for your childbearing health.”

    • What evidence did Dr. Collins and David discover that undercuts genetic explanations for racial disparities in birth outcomes?

    The two doctors investigated the possibility that these low births rates were genetic, and if so African women should display the same (or similar) outcome. They recorded birth weights of African American women, White American Women and African women and a graph discovered that the birth weights of African women’s babies were much more similar to White American women. However, after one generation (1st generation African American) the birth weights went back down, which made the doctors believe these weights have more to do with American society than genetics. It has to do with the constant stress that exists while living as a Black woman in America.

  17. Why do African American mothers – even those with college degrees – have more low birth-weight babies than white American and African immigrant women? They do because of the racial stresses the exist for black woman in the US that are not apparent in white woman in the US as well as African immigrant woman. I think people drastically underestimate the affects that oppression and racism has on the physic of those being oppressed and are subject to long term racism. The constant worry of being judge negatively solely on your racism to me can have deep affects on ones health and well being.

  18. Why is it significant that the daughters of African immigrants had worse birth outcomes than their mothers?
    The significance is that their mothers did not experience racism that causes (chronic stress) while living back home in Africa, where as their daughters are born here in the US and experience the American racism. This shows that there is something about being born and raised in America which causes African Americans worst outcomes like having premature babies. I believe facing racism, discrimination, racial profiling, and dealing with inequalities puts a lot of stress on an individual.

  19. According to the video, the reason African American mothers have lower birth weight babies than African immigrant and American women is because of racism. Regardless of college degrees, good eating habits, exercising, no drugs or alcohol consumption, African American babies are born underweight and unhealthy, and it is due to the treatment the mothers receive their whole lives. Regardless of their background, racist people will treat others poorly and it leaves an impact on people’s lives over time. The psychological trauma the mothers face due to racist treatment or comments leads them to have poor health during pregnancies and the babies are born premature, unhealthy, and underweight.

  20. It is significant that the daughters of African immigrants had worse birth outcomes than their mothers due to the fact of chronic stress. I was in shock to hear this information for the first time. The mother of an African Immigrant is well adjusted to their life style and are surrounded by people that share the same ethnic backgrounds and culture as them. An African immigrant has more of a negative birth outcome compared to their mother because, their stress level has increased and has been promoted by the life style adjust and the change they experienced. Furthermore, stress can come from social status, microagressions, discrimination, racism ect.

  21. Why do African American mothers – even those with college degrees – have more low birth-weight babies than white American and African immigrant women?

    More wealth equal better health, but for an African American woman dealing with financial inequality of today’s society and dealing with the everyday racism is extremely stressful. Being a pregnant African American woman living in these environmental conditions can cause devastating effects on the mother and unborn child that most white American woman would never experience in those conditions.

  22. Why do African American mothers – even those with college degrees – have more low birth-weight babies than white American and African immigrant women?
    African American mothers have experienced social discrimination and psychological stress more than white mothers. Even thus they have the highest college degree, they still experienced discrimination when looking for job opportunities, at work, at school, in public places, doctor’s appointment. Chronic stress is a well-known feature in the daily lives of African American women than in the daily lives of White women. Even The study has shown us that build up stress in a mother can cause to deliver premature birth baby.

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