This is the transcript of a Westminster Hall debate in the House of Commons on Black Maternal Health Awareness Week, dedicated to raising awareness about the disparities in maternal outcomes for Black women.
Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Member of Parliament (MP) for Streatham, who secured this debate, reiterated the key statistics around black maternal health and mortality in the UK:
- Black women are still four times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth.
- Black women are up to 83% more likely to suffer a near miss during pregnancy.
- Black babies have a 121% increased risk of stillbirth and a 50% increased risk of neonatal death.
- Miscarriage rates are 40% higher in black women, and black ethnicity is regarded as a risk factor for miscarriage.
- Black mothers are twice as likely to give birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
MPs contributing to the debate made several calls for Government action on these issues, asking them to:
- Set a target to end racial maternal health inequalities.
- Implement the Joint Committee of Human Rights recommendations on black maternal health, as well as those included in the Health and Social Care Committee’s report Safety of maternity services in England.
- Launch an inquiry into institutional racism and racial bias in the NHS and medical education field.
- Engage with black women in improving their experiences of maternal health services.
- Identify those barriers to accessing maternal mental healthcare services and increasing the accessibility of mental health services after miscarriage and traumatic maternal experiences.