Posted By: Amy Tubb
24th May 2022
3 minute read
A new survey from campaigning organisation Five X More has found that Black women in the UK continue to experience discrimination and are receiving a mixed level of maternity care during the antenatal, labour, and postnatal period.
Studies, such as MBRRACE-UK’s annual Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths, have consistently shown disparities between Black and white women’s maternal experiences and outcomes. However, the reasons for the differences remain unclear and under-researched.
“Inequalities in maternal death rates between Black women and White women in the UK have been documented for many years, and it is thanks to the work of Five X More and other advocates that tackling this disparity is now recognised as a priority. It is only by listening to women that we can understand the full impact of the care we are providing and identify ways to improve.”
The aim of Five X More’s survey was to better understand Black women’s experiences of UK maternity care and show that Black and Brown women are not, as has commonly been cited, “hard to reach”.
Responses were gathered from more than 1300 women and birthing people around the UK who either identified as Black or of Black mixed heritage and had accessed NHS maternity services whilst pregnant between 2016 and 2021.
Five X More found that, overall, women reported that midwives were likely to discuss physical health status and safeguarding and social risk factors. However, there was a lack of information, advice and support given around mental health, rights, choices and social support. Additionally:
“Despite the stark disparities in maternal outcomes, Black women’s voices and lived experiences have been notably absent from literature to date. The findings in this report highlight the urgent work needed to ensure that rapid improvements are made - because a positive birthing experience is deserved not just by some, but by all.”
In response to the data and first-hand accounts of Black and Brown women, Five X More has identified six key recommendations:
Five X More, co-founded by Clotilde Abe and Tinuke Awe, is dedicated to supporting mothers with its campaigning work and recommendations. It focuses on empowering Black women to make informed choices and advocate for themselves throughout their pregnancies and after childbirth. They are also committed to calling on those in power to change the outcomes for Black women.
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