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  • Join the Black Maternal Health Conference UK! An interview with host Sandra Igwe.

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    A Black woman is 3.7 times more likely to die in pregnancy than a white woman. [1] They are more likely to experience postnatal depression.[2] and less likely to seek support.[3]. Mental ill-health in pregnancy and beyond is an increasing cause of maternal death,[1] making it more important than ever to understand and address racial inequality.  

    In this interview, we talk to Sandra Igwe, CEO of The Motherhood Group, and Author of My Black Motherhood: Mental Health, Stigma, Racism and the System, about the Black Maternal Health Conference UK, taking place on 20 March 2023.  

    Sandra, who is hosting the event, explains how the day has been designed to support the rebuilding of trust between Black mothers and the healthcare system. She introduces us to the rich and interactive agenda and explains how it will provide opportunity for deeper exploration and collaboration.  

    Sandra welcomes everyone to sign up to the event, from mothers and healthcare professionals to researchers and journalists.  

    Event hashtag - #BMHCUK 


    Hi Sandra, this is the first year you are running the Black Maternal Health Conference UK. What made you set up the event? 


    In the last few years, the inequalities affecting Black women’s maternal health have become more widely recognised. As CEO of the Motherhood Group, I’m often asked to present at conferences; to share my insights, lived experience or raise awareness of the disparities in outcomes.  

    I usually have around 45 minutes, sometimes less, to draw on all of the issues we need to be talking about in this space.  

    It’s never enough. It doesn’t do it justice.  

    The Black Maternal Health event in March is going to give us a chance to really dig deeper into these issues. To not have to be explaining such important topics ‘in a nutshell’.  

    Our full and interactive agenda will provide people with much more time to engage with the subject matter and to connect with one another so we can work together for better outcomes.  

    What is the aim of the day? 

    By combining our expert speaker line up with shared experiences from mothers, and creating a safe space for everyone to connect, the day will present us with an incredible opportunity.  

    This is how trust will be rebuilt and progress made.  

    The aim is to really bridge that gap between the Black maternal community and service providers, through learning workshops, panel sessions and by listening to the experts - including those with lived experience.  

    Who can attend? 

    We are welcoming anyone to attend the day and we’ve already had a range of people interested; from Black mothers to charities, researchers and clinical staff. It will be great to bring together different voices and perspectives.   

    Although many people coming will already be interested in this work, you don’t have to know anything about Black maternal health beforehand.  

    I’d personally love to see more healthcare workers and managers signing up to the day. I know so many are keen to improve outcomes for Black women and mothers; to listen, learn and understand what they can do to make a difference. This is the perfect opportunity to do just that.  

    It will be a safe space to really connect and work with others to delve deeper into potential solutions or practical steps.  

    Who is speaking on the day? 

    We have many amazing speakers joining us, please take a look at the full line up on our website. It will give you an idea of how rich the content will be. 

    Contributors include midwife, Marley Hall, presenting on How defensiveness amongst health professionals may be harming outcomes and experiences, and Dr Karen Joash, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, leading a session on Moving from maternal mortality and morbidity disparities, to equity for Black mothers.  

    We’ll also be looking at: 

    • mental health 
    • stigma 
    • communication 
    • systemic racism  
    • faith 
    • how to engage Black mothers in research.  
    Can people attend virtually as well as in person? 

    Yes! We are offering the event virtually too and you will be able to interact from a distance in various ways. If you have the opportunity though, we’d love to welcome you in person as I think it provides a great opportunity to network and connect face-to-face. 

    Any final thoughts to share? 

    It is so important that Black women receive maternal health care that is respectful, culturally competent, safe and of the highest quality.  

    If you want to engage in the issues surrounding poorer health outcomes for Black mothers, it takes time, resource and effort. That’s why we’ve tried to design a day that provides enormous value and welcomes you into a truly collaborative space where we can listen, learn and take action together.  

    So don’t be shy, join us on 20 March.  

    Register here 

    Event hashtag - #BMHCUK 

    Stay connected with the Motherhood Group

    Twitter: @MotherhoodGroup 

    Facebook: The Motherhood Group 

    YouTube: The Motherhood Group 

    Instagram: @TheMotherhoodGroup 

    Website: www.themotherhoodgroup.com 


    [1] MBRRACE-UK Saving Lives Improving Mothers' Care - Lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2018-20 

    [2] Watson H, Harrop D, Walton E et al. (2019) A systematic review of ethnic minority women’s experiences of perinatal mental health conditions and services in Europe. PLOS ONE 14(1) 

    [3] Kozhimannil KB, Trinacty CM, Busch AB et al. Racial and ethnic disparities in postpartum depression care among low-income women. Psychiatr Serv. 2011 Jun;62(6):619-25 

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