Widening inequalities should galvanise action across systems
Naomi Delap, Director of Birth Companions, reflects on the inequalities highlighted by the latest reports from MBRRACE-UK
Once again, the latest MBRRACE-UK reports on maternal mortality rates, stillbirths and neonatal deaths during 2016-2018 have highlighted significant and growing inequalities stemming from deprivation and disadvantage. The deeply concerning evidence about these deaths should not be a surprise; these inequalities have been known and written about for many years.
The statistics are stark. Babies born in the most deprived areas are at an 80% higher risk of stillbirth and neonatal death compared to those living in the least deprived. Women living in these areas are almost three times more likely to die themselves in pregnancy, childbirth or in the year after. ‘Saving lives, improving mother's care’ shows that as the level of deprivation increases, so does the risk of dying. Of the women who died, 37% lived in areas ranked at the very highest index of multiple deprivation, compared to 7% in the least (MBRRACE-UK, 2020).
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