Blog: #RaceEquityMonth – Addressing differences in maternal health outcomes

16 November 2023

A guest blog from Susan Iwenjiora, midwifery student at the University of Hertfordshire and one of the #150Leaders. 

Black women are four times more likely to die in pregnancy, and Asian women are twice as likely to die in pregnancy, than white women. What does this tell you?

As a second year midwifery student, I feel like this problem is not emphasised enough and is hardly spoken about. Some students, as well as health care professionals, are unaware of this fact. Universities should teach students about the experiences and issues faced by the Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community in pregnancy and take further steps to ensure an inclusive education for everyone.

Here are some things universities could consider implementing, if they’re not doing so already:

  • Introduce a range of case studies into the curriculum – for example, bringing in a diverse range of guest speakers to talk about their experiences and offer any advice so that student can be prepared on what to expect at placement.
  • Include courses or modules specifically focused on maternal and child health in the BAME community.
  • Work with midwifery societies to encourage discussions and workshops on the differences in maternal health outcomes.
  • Pair students with experienced midwives who have specialised in providing care to BAME communities.

In 2023, no woman or their baby should be subject to adverse health outcomes due to the colour of their skin or structural health inequalities. The steps outlined above can help better prepare all midwifery students to provide the best care to BAME pregnant women and improve patient satisfaction and health outcomes.

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