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Black women twice as likely to experience severe complications during pregnancy

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Black women in the UK are twice as likely as white women to experience severe complications during pregnancy, say UK researchers.

Using data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System, the team from Oxford University studied 686 cases of severe pregnancy-related complications out of a total of 775,186 maternities over one year.

The researchers found that the risk of severe complications, such as eclampsia and pulmonary embolism, was 80 cases per 100,000 maternities for white women.

For black African women the risk was 188 cases per 100,000 maternities, rising to 196 for black Caribbean women.

Gail Johnson, education and professional development advisor at the RCM, said the study highlighted the need for tailored maternity services for women from ethnic minority backgrounds.

‘Midwives need to ensure that women from minority ethnic backgrounds understand what maternity care they are entitled to, and what the benefits of this care are,’ she said.

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