Colchester cookery course aiming to cut pregnancy mortality rates in black and asian women

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Hannah Pettifer

A unique cooking class has been launched to help pregnant black women with nutrition after a study revealed that they are four times more likely to die while pregnant or during childbirth than white women.

The figures were published in a report by Mbbrace, a national programme which investigates the causes of maternal and infant deaths.

Now a group in Colchester, from African Families in the UK, are running classes for expectant mums, where the majority of the women are from countries like Nigeria and Kenya.

The mums-to-be are given some tips on how to cook healthy food, in the hope that improving nutrition will help.

"I have one of the mums who is having triplets, one person is telling them do this, the other to eat that, it is so confusing" said Joyce McIntyre from African Families in the UK

"Just figuring out what is healthy, what is consistent, what do they have that they can eat which is healthy, so the food from home that's familiar with them that they grew up with, how can we make it in a healthy way."

Mary Akabueze (on the left) says she has found the classes 'really beneficial' Credit: ITV News Anglia

"With pregnancy you have a lot of cravings and you crave the food you know from back home" expectant mum, Mary Akabueze told ITV News Anglia.

"Most of the food is normally oil-soaked, you make it with lots of oil but with an air fryer, I can't remember the last time I had to fry or make that food so it's been really beneficial."

A recent report from the charity FiveXMore found 42% of black women reported feeling discriminated against during their maternity care.

"When it comes to maternity inequalities they've been there for quite a while, most of our pregnant mothers do not get the care they need" said Rachel Walton, from African Families in the UK.

"Usually it is the cultural sensitivity that is needed, understanding their background, the issues they are going through, the language barriers and just speaking to the mother's need at that time, their situation."

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