Written by Izin Akhabau
Published on 19th April 2021
On 19th April 2021, a debate on Black Maternal Mortality was held in Parliament. This debate was held due to a petition created by campaign group FiveXMore, which got 200,000 signatures, and stated that black women are five times more likely to die during pregnancy than white women.
Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy shared her experience of stillbirth. She stated that she was diagnosed with eclampsia far too late in her pregnancy and was informed that either her child or both her child and she would die. After she was told that her child’s heart had stopped beating she had to undergo 18 hours of labour Fellow MP Florence Eshalomi shared that medical professionals were not aware that she had fibroids until her first pregnancy scan.
During the debate, MP’s raised awareness that pregnant migrant women do not have access to maternal care provided by the NHS and have to either pay thousands for this care or go without. Also, classism was discussed as a factor that disproportionately affects Black women who may miss medical appointments during their pregnancy because they are afraid to lose their jobs.
Nadine Dorries, Minister of State for Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Patient Safety, stated that research on near misses needs to be carried out to fully understand the causes of Black Maternal Mortality. Dorries encourages black women to take part in a survey by the Department of Health and Social Care and share their experience of pregnancy.