Prof Maggie Rae, president of the Faculty of Public Health, attributes the coronavirus pandemic for only highlighting the inequalities in the healthcare system that are already apparent for many
Written by Leah Mahon
Published on 15th February 2021
IN THE UK, Black women are four times more likely than white women to die in pregnancy or childbirth, a new report has found.
The data from the MBRRACE-UK study, which also found that women from Asian ethnic background face twice the risk, showed a slight narrowing of the figures from last year’s report as it reported that Black women were five times more likely to die.
However, experts clarify that this is still not a sign of significant progress in the issue.
Between 2016 and 2018, it reports that 217 women died during or up to six weeks after pregnancy out of 2,235,159 women giving birth in the UK.
A further 349 women died up to a year after pregnancy.
Prof Maggie Rae, president of the Faculty of Public Health, attributes the coronavirus pandemic for only highlighting the inequalities in the healthcare system that are already apparent for many.
Speaking to The Guardian, she said: “This year’s coronavirus pandemic has brought this disparity even more starkly to the fore, and we must not lose sight of the actions that are required to address systemic biases that impact on the care we provide for ethnic minority women.”
The lead author of the report, Prof Marian Knight, also stressed that despite death rates among white women increasing by a small amount, and the rate for Black women decreasing, the care for ethnic minority women still remains a priority.
She said: “Maternal mortality is uncommon so while there is an unacceptable racial disparity, even for black women the rate is low,” said Knight.
“But what is significant is the statistics are likely to be a marker of similar disparities in severe pregnancy complications and what we call ‘near misses’.
Prof. Knight has called for more comprehensive research into maternal morbidity to further examine variations of outcomes between different groups throughout different areas across the UK.