The introduction sheds light on the crisis of premature birth among Black women. It lays out the theoretical terrain on which premature birth is generally understood and develops the rationale of linking the issue to past ideologies and practices of medical racism. Premature birth and medical racism are introduced through the birth story of a young African American woman who was a college student when she became pregnant and later gave birth to a daughter, born three months prematurely, who was admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Grounded in a Black feminist framework, which privileges Black women’s experiences as a site of knowledge production, the chapter describes the book’s theoretical foundation; its methodological approach; and its use of birth stories, interviews, ethnographic observations, and archival sources to understand Black women’s medical encounters.
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