Birthrights’ inquiry into racial injustice in UK maternity services

We’re supporting the call for evidence for the inquiry into racial injustice in UK maternity services, led by Birthrights.

Birthrights is the UK charity that champions respectful care in pregnancy and childbirth by protecting human rights. They provide advice to women and birthing people, train doctors and midwives, and campaign to change maternity policy and systems. A spokesperson tells us why their inquiry into racial injustice in UK maternity services is so important.

Terrible disparities

Evidence repeatedly shows that Black, Asian and mixed ethnicity women are more likely to die, experience baby loss, become seriously unwell and have worse experiences of care during pregnancy and childbirth, compared to white women.

The inquiry investigates how systemic racism is impacting on maternity care

That’s why Birthrights charity is convening an inquiry into racial injustice in UK maternity services. This is urgent work, as they believe basic human rights are at stake.

The inquiry brings the power of the human rights legal framework together with lived experience and maternity care expertise, to investigate how systemic racism is impacting on maternity care, the harms being caused, and what needs to change.

The inquiry is overseen by an expert panel, made up of midwives, obstetricians, academics, lawyers, doulas, birth workers and people with lived experience, who will meet throughout the year.

Call for evidence

Since March, Birthrights has been running an online call for evidence, inviting women, birthing people and healthcare professionals to share their experiences of maternity care or their working environment and how they feel their race has impacted.

Find the call for evidence here or contact for more information.

They are also holding focus groups and interviewing women and birthing people to understand the stories behind the statistics.

Birthrights knows there are many practitioners out there providing safe, respectful, culturally sensitive care so are also keen to hear from anyone with positive experiences and examples of good practice.

NCT is supporting this call for evidence, and have joined the RCOG Race Equality Taskforce, which advises the RCOG on issues related to race equality. Learn more about the taskforce here.

We also continue to raise awareness of the Five X More campaign, which is bringing vital attention to the inequalities in outcomes experienced by Black women.

Black Maternity Experience Survey

Recently, Five X More launched a national survey into Black women and birthing people’s experience of maternity care in the UK in the last five years.

Black women are four to five times more likely to die during pregnancy, childbirth, and six weeks after compared to White women, and the objective of the survey is to understand these poorer outcomes and experiences.

This will help produce recommendations to make pregnancy and childbirth safer for Black women in the UK.

If you’d like to complete the survey, please click here.

We are implementing a comprehensive and reinvigorated plan of work to improve, update and embed the charity’s approach to equity, diversity and inclusion. See our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.