Kyla Pratt recalls dealing with dismissive health care provider while giving birth to second baby

Pratt joined actress Tatyana Ali, singer Melanie Fiona, chef Nyesha Arrington, entrepreneur Lizzy Mathis, and licensed midwife Kim Durdin for a recent episode of "Recipe of Change" titled "Revolutionizing Black Motherhood."

Kyla Pratt is opening up about her experience as a Black mother in America’s health care system.

During a recent episode of “Recipe for Change” — which brings together celebrities, chefs, activists, and creators for important discussions around the dinner table — the “One on One” star shared that she was met with a dismissive care provider who tried ignoring her concerns while giving birth to her second baby.

“I remember for my second pregnancy, I went into labor early,” Pratt recalled in the episode, titled “Revolutionizing Black Motherhood.” “Being in the hospital, I told the nurse there I was having contractions’; she looked at the machine and said, ‘No, you weren’t,’ and I said, ‘Yes I am. I’ve done this before; go get my doctor.'”

Black Girls Rock! 2018 - Red Carpet x Kyla Pratt
Kyla Pratt attends the Black Girls Rock! 2018 Red Carpet at NJPAC on Aug. 26, 2018, in Newark, New Jersey. The actress recently opened up about dealing with a dismissive health care provider while having her second child. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for BET)

Pratt shares two daughters – Lyric Kirkpatrick, 13, and Liyah Kirkpatrick, 10 – with longtime partner Danny Kirkpatrick.

“Luckily, standing up for myself in that moment, my daughter is here now,” Pratt added. “She went to get my doctor; my doctor said, ‘You’re 6-centimeters dilated, and we have to do an emergency C-section. But because I was so small, it wasn’t showing up on the machine. In that moment, I didn’t really recognize when people weren’t listening to me because I was young, because I am Black, and because I’m a woman.”

Pratt’s experience highlights the ongoing challenges Black women encounter when seeking care from health care providers who are supposed to support and assist them.

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Compared to white women, Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related reason, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Multiple factors contribute to the discrepancies, including structural racism, implicit bias, underlying chronic diseases, and variations in the quality of health care. 

“Even I was dismissed before that in my life, I don’t really recognize stuff, I just let stuff go away,” Pratt added. “But when it came to the safety of my child, I was easily like ‘Ma’am, keep your looks and keep your whatever you need to yourself, I got this.'”