Black women five times more likely to die during childbirth, according to reports

In our series True Colours, Rajiv Popat looks at why some mothers and experts believe racial bias could be a factor in the number of black women who die during childbirth. Credit: ITV News Central

There are calls for the NHS to do more to improve the experience black women have with maternity services.

It follows reports that black women are five times more likely to die in childbirth - but exactly why remains unclear.

In our series True Colours, Rajiv Popat looks at why some mothers and experts believe racial bias could be a factor.

Warning: This report contains a candid account of one woman's birth story.


In response to the information in this report, we received this statement from Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust:

“We’re proud to be part of a richly diverse city and are passionate about offering the very best services to every mother, baby and family we care for.

 “We would always encourage any of our women, patients and families who have any concerns about their care to get in touch with our dedicated PALS team, which offers confidential advice and support. We understand Kadi’s more recent experience whilst being cared for by our teams was positive, as is the case with other examples ITV Central News has identified, which is reassuring. 

“More so than ever before, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and evidence showing the disproportionate effect the illness has for pregnant women from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background has focussed attention on how we can specifically support our women, patients and families from these communities to ensure their safety. A number of measures have been put in place to raise awareness of the increased risk amongst our staff and the families we care for, in line with national guidance, along with, most importantly, clear messaging on how our teams can support.

“This builds upon wider work that had already started in engaging with community groups to better understand how we can ensure we engage and offer services that are fully accessible and meet the needs of all women and families.

 “We’re clear this is a journey we’ve started but there’s more work to do and that will happen, working alongside our partners in our local maternity system. Discrimination of any kind, anywhere in our system is simply not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”