Black women are four times more likely to die in pregnancy than white women in the UK
The MBRRACE-UK’s (Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK) recent report uncovered deep-rooted social inequalities. The report published by MBRRACE showed that black women in the UK are up to four times more likely to die in pregnancy, childbirth or its aftermath than other women.
According to the report, some 191 women, from 2,173,810 women giving birth in the UK, died during or up to six weeks after the end of pregnancy from causes associated with their pregnancy over the three year period.
There also remain gaps in mortality rates between women from deprived and affluent areas, as well as women of different ages. Women living in the most deprived areas are twice as likely to die than those who live in the most affluent areas.
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Angela McConville, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, said: “This latest report on maternal deaths from MBRRACE-UK once again shows the stark effects of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds on pregnancies. Black women are still four times more likely to die than white women during maternity, and Asian women are twice as likely to die. Other inequalities have continued to grow – women living in the most deprived areas are twice as likely to die than those in the most affluent.
“MBRRACE-UK rightly calls on clinicians not to ignore signs of dangerous diseases such as cancer in pregnant women or postnatally when most deaths occur. However, postnatal care has been eroded so badly that basic health checks are not always carried out and potentially fatal conditions can be missed.”
Heart disease, epilepsy and stroke were the leading cause of maternal death during or up to six weeks after the end of pregnancy. Sepsis and thrombosis and blood clots are the third and fourth most common causes.
“Black, brown and mixed ethnicities mothers reported feeling unsafe, their concerns being ignored or dismissed, denial of pain relief due to racial stereotypes, and pervasive microaggressions causing harm or distress.”Inquiry by the charity Birthrights
An inquiry by the charity Birthrights found that black, brown and mixed ethnicities mothers reported feeling unsafe, their concerns being ignored or dismissed, denial of pain relief due to racial stereotypes, and pervasive microaggressions causing harm or distress. Healthcare professionals backed up their testimonies.
Last September, Fivexmore announced the launch of an all-party parliamentary group on black maternal health to tackle institutional racism in the UK healthcare system. This follows criticisms voiced by civil society groups, who say the Labour government had done little despite data showing black women were more than four times more likely to die in childbirth or pregnancy than white women.