Community Engagement

A Campaign and Movement to Raise Awareness of Birth Justice

Elevating the chorus of voices fighting for equal birth

The fight for Birth Justice is the fight for Black and Brown women to have the pregnancy they want, deserve, and have been systematically excluded from.

Racial disparities in infant and maternal mortality rates in the U.S are austere. Black women in the U.S—regardless of class or education—are 2‑to‑3 times more likely to die during childbirth and 60% more likely to have a premature baby than their white counterparts; and this disparity has only increased since 1850, during slavery.

I had a high risk pregnancy. I wanted to be someone who could come alongside other pregnant women to tell them: it's going to be ok. No matter what happens, you can enjoy your pregnancy, you can be a powerful mother to your child.

Marna, Doula

At the frontline of the birth justice movement, there are parents, providers, doulas, lactation consultants, and community activists fighting tirelessly to raise awareness of preterm birth and improve the lives of parents and their babies. The UCSF California Preterm Birth Initiative looked to IDEO​.org to help build their momentum and amplify their impact.

We photographed real members of the movement—from those fighting racial disparities in health care to those supporting women of color through a healthy birth.

The patterns that engulf them are an embodiment of their bold inner strength.

We started by listening to their stories of resilience: mothers who honed their inner strength when faced with countless months at the NICU; communities of women holding each other up through high-risk pregnancies; and organizations working to reduce disparities in the face of racist systems. Side-by-side with them, we designed a campaign to spread awareness of birth justice,” to help change policies and ultimately connect parents with knowledge and community at the right time. 

Depending on the channel, messaging either invites people to find support or join the movement. For example, an expecting mother in a clinic will see a message that offers support and ease.

The campaign elevates the chorus of voices fighting for change; creating space for them to tell their stories, in their words. In our research, we heard many birthing persons express the desire to be portrayed as multi-dimensional: strong and resilient at times, but also peaceful, loving, and soft. The photography and even the font choice balance this duality—strong, yet tender.

I was affected by clients who were having preterm infants—I saw the challenges for breastfeeding were very different. There were no real avenues for these women. I decided I would be that person, to come up with creative ways to keep their milk supply up.

Brandi, Lactation Consultant

The design is meant to be easily replicable; so any voice fighting for birth justice can be heard, loud and clear. Our hope is that their message will be seen in public spaces, online, and in conversation, so that parents and pregnant people can get the care that they need in a way that is safe, loving, and just. 

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