Kelly Rowland Reveals How She Advocated For a Friend During Childbirth

Amid alarming Black maternal mortality rates during childbirth, the singer hopes more women can have a healthy experience in the hospital room.

Kelly Rowland doesn't mind extending her support in the hospital room if it could be the difference between life or death.

While speaking to PEOPLE, the singer and actor opened up about a recent experience she had when she was by a friend's side during childbirth. For the mom of two, this was her opportunity to ensure her friend received proper medical care amid an alarming health crisis in the United States.

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"I just actually watched another girlfriend of mine give birth, and I saw the way a hospital was with her and how she really had to advocate for herself," she explained. "I remember going in there, and I was asking questions. I was probably doing the most, but I didn't care because I love her."

"If they were about to be careless with her life, I couldn't sit there and watch, you know what I mean? As women and as Black women, we've got to figure this stuff out," she continued.

In the United States, health disparities are prevalent in the Black community, and Black women are more likely to die while giving birth than white women.  

In 2021, the CDC concluded that "the maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black (subsequently, Black) women was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.6 times the rate for non-Hispanic White." The Guardian reports that mortality after birth is 10 times more likely to occur in the United States than in Australia, Austria, Israel, Japan and Spain.  

Rowland's bedside advocacy occurred on the heels of her partnership with BirthFUND, founded by Elaine Welteroth's initiative to raise money and spread awareness of the disproportionate mortality rate of Black women after childbirth.

"The fact that [Welteroth] mentioned community to me, the fact that she mentioned other women to me, that there were fathers that were concerned and wanted to be involved," she said of BirthFUND. "I was like, 'Well, where do I start?' What we want to do is shift the conversation into something that is way, way more positive than what we're seeing on the news everywhere, period."

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