Government Equalities Office & Race Disparity Unit press release: Government working with midwives, medical experts, and academics to investigate BAME maternal mortality 

Minister for Equalities leads discussion to tackle Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) maternal mortality.

  • Maternal mortality now occurs in fewer than 1 in 10,000 pregnancies, but the disparity between Black women and White women has widened
  • Government brings together frontline midwives, medical experts, and health academics to ensure every mother has access to a safe, special birth.

The NHS is the safest place in the world to have a baby and giving birth is now safer than it was 10 years ago. Since 2010, despite increases in certain risk factors, outcomes for mothers and babies have improved:

  • Stillbirths are down 21%, reaching the 20% fall target two years early
  • Perinatal mortality is down 15%
  • Maternal mortality is down 14%.

Tragic maternal deaths now occur in fewer than 1 in 10,000 pregnancies. 209 mothers died in the UK from pregnancy-related causes from 2015 to 2017. During this period more than 2.2 million women gave birth in the UK.

Evidence points to a concerning disparity in maternal mortality between Black women and White women. Black British mothers are five times more likely to die in pregnancy or six weeks after childbirth, than White women. Women of mixed ethnicity have three times the risk, and Asian women almost twice the risk. BAME women are also at an increased risk of having a pre-term birth, stillbirth, neonatal death or a baby born with low birth weight.

Government is committed to tackling these concerning statistics. That’s why we have set up a new model of community hubs, which bring a range of perinatal and sometimes intrapartum care services together in one setting closer to women’s homes to identify potential problems sooner. They have been opened across the country, with over 100 new hubs open as of December 2019.

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