Summerville Medical Center Aims to Educate and Empower Women to Take Control of Their Health and the Health of their Baby During Black Maternal Health Week (April 11 –17)
Summerville, SC (April 7, 2023) –The U.S. still has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world. Nationally, Black women are nearly three times as likely to die from a maternal cause as white women. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that in 2020, the maternal mortality rate for Black women was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, while the same rate for white women was 19.1.

“The need for individualized, respectful and above all, equitable care is paramount when it comes to the health and safety of our moms and babies,” said OB/GYN Brittany Stofko, DO. “We build trust with our patients through open communication and providing timely, quality care to everyone. We listen, address concerns, and work hard to make them feel heard, understood, and cared for during their visits and throughout their care,” she adds.

Experts encourage pregnant Black women to understand the urgent maternal warning signs and the need to seek medical attention right away because there are some other health issues that tend to be more severe in Black women.

For example, pre-eclampsia affects up to 15% of pregnancies worldwide, but when Black women have pre-eclampsia it often presents earlier and is more likely to be severe. “It’s important to know your risk factors and listen to your body,” adds OB/GYN Jennifer Risinger, MD. “We tell our patients if they are experiencing anything out of the ordinary like severe headaches, vision changes, shortness of breath or heart palpitations to call us immediately.”

The postpartum period is critically important. Up to 45 percent of maternal deaths happen in the weeks after delivery, a time where people are generally more removed from medical care and their regular support systems. It’s also important to note that postpartum medically and physiologically —is at least the entire year after birth, as this is how long the physical changes of pregnancy persist.

And it’s important to note that a postpartum plan with planned check-ins with their provider is key for all women, but especially women of color. “I sit down with my patients and we talk about how to best prepare for their postpartum experience and plan regular check ups to address any pre-existing risk factors or health issues that arose during pregnancy like gestational hypertension or pre-eclampsia,” says OB/GYN Dr. Jacquline Hayles-Patterson.

Drs. Stofko, Risinger and Hayles-Patterson will be hosting a FREE virtual seminar on Tuesday, April 11that 12pm to share tips for black women who are pregnant or postpartum on what they can do to ensure their health and the health of their babies. Women can tune in by visiting

For more information about our maternity care or to schedule a prenatal tour through our women’s & children’s unit, visit www.SummervilleMed.comor call (843) 797-3463.

Summerville Medical Center is a 124-bed, acute-care hospital serving families in Dorchester County, Berkeley County and surrounding communities for 30 years. The hospital has a 24-hour emergency room, including a dedicated ER for children, and a wide range of surgical services and comprehensive medical services. Summerville Medical Center is recognized for its emergency, women’s and children’s, cardiac, imaging, orthopedic and stroke services. Surgical services includes gynecological, orthopedic, spine, reflux, breast, robotic and weight loss procedures. Summerville Medical Center is part of Trident Health, which has earned recognition as a leader in the delivery of healthcare in the Lowcountry. Learn more at
For almost 50 years staff and physicians at Trident Healthhave provided acute healthcare services to families in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.Services are provided through its two hospitals, Trident Medical Center and Summerville Medical Center; three freestanding emergency departments, Brighton Park Emergency, Moncks Corner Medical Center, and Centre Pointe Emergency; and two urgent care centers, CareNow Urgent Care Goose Creek and CareNow Urgent Care North Charleston.Both hospitals have received top ranking as Joint Commission Top Hospitals for Quality Performance and are Joint Commission Certified for Advanced Heart Failure and Advanced Primary Stroke Centers.Trident Health is one of the South Carolina Lowcountry’s largest employers with more than 2,800 employees and has a medical staff of nearly 600 physicians.In 2021 it provided $50.6 million in uncompensated care and paid $41.8 million in local, state and federal taxes.To learn more about how Trident Health is growing to meet the needs of our growing region and how to join our team go to