I secured a debate on Black Maternal Health this week. When the Government is asked to take action, they often claim they don’t have enough data. So I took the chance to highlight some of the reports outlining Black, Asian and minority ethnic women’s experiences of maternity care, which set out some of the issues pretty clearly. These included reports from Five X More, the Muslim Women’s Network, and Birthrights.
In 2022, Black women in the UK are four times more likely to die from pregnancy and childbirth than their white counterparts. Behind the harrowing statistics on Black maternal health, there are thousands of harrowing stories, which shine a light on the racial bias and discrimination that exist in maternity care. As well as addressing the socioeconomic factors driving poor health outcomes for Black mothers, we need to address disparities in maternity care by listening to these stories and acting on them.
Since I secured the first ever Black Maternal Health Awareness Week debate last year, there has been little discernible progress. It’s not enough for the Government to simply say they are listening. They need to move beyond words by setting binding targets to end racial health disparities in maternity care, as Labour has this week pledged to do. The colour of a mother’s skin should have no impact on her baby’s health or her own.