College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

Women's & Gender Studies


maternal, health, disparities, antiracist, feminism


Health care systems in the United States perpetuate disturbing maternal health inequity. Rampant maternal health disparities, including preterm births, low birthweight, maternal and infant mortality, and maternal morbidities, disproportionately affect birthing parents of color, queer parents, and low-income parents in comparison to white, cisgender, heterosexual, financially-privileged parents. My master's thesis examines how hegemonic cultural ideology surrounding motherhood in the United States (rooted in white supremacist, cis-hetero-patriarchal, and classist standards of mothering and birth) affects health care practices and provider biases, as well as directly contributes to maternal health disparities experienced by marginalized birthing parents. Furthermore, my thesis examines how antiracist feminisms, including tenets of reproductive justice, provide foundational, theoretical frameworks for health care practitioners to ground and transform their care practices, directly combat maternal health inequity, and further the work of maternal health care and reproductive justice.