According to an autopsy report, Olympic gold champion Tori Bowie had eclampsia, making three of America's finest female athletes undergo potentially fatal issues while giving birth.
As they mourn the loss of their coworker Tori Bowie, Olympic gold medalists Allyson Felix and Tianna Madison — both of whom had their babies safely after undergoing traumatic birthing experiences — are now coming out to raise awareness of the Black maternal health problem in the United States. Bowie was found dead at her home, not far from Orlando, Florida, on May 2.
According to the authorities, Bowie had entered labor and was eight months pregnant. According to an autopsy report, Bowie's death was "natural," with respiratory distress and eclampsia noted as possible causes.
Eclampsia is a medical emergency that occurs when a pregnant woman with pre-eclampsia undergoes a seizure, often causing coma or death, according to the CDC. Preeclampsia strains the heart and can cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs.
In response to Bowie's passing, Madison wrote on Instagram that three of the gold-winning relay team's four members "have nearly died or died in childbirth."
After Bowie's passing, Madison revealed that she was astounded to learn that almost the whole relay team had experienced issues during delivery.
"All three of us have had this experience, and one of us didn't make it," says Madison. "It is absolutely not our fault, but it is our problem. We need to put ourselves in position to save ourselves, educate ourselves and advocate."
In a comment on Madison's article, Felix, who also had a potentially fatal event after giving birth to her kid in November 2018, said this is "heartbreaking." She continued that in the U.S., the maternal mortality epidemic persists. Women of color are in danger, which is why she'll continue working on this project.
The CDC continues that Black and Native American women are two to three times more likely than white women to pass away from a pregnancy-related reason in the U.S. The country has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with around 700 women dying annually from pregnancy-related problems, regardless of race.
- CDC. Working Together to Reduce Black Maternal Mortality
- Cleveland Clinic. Preeclampsia