Disparities in maternity care are an unfortunate reality for women around the world, including in the UK. The most recent MBRRACE report (Knight et al, 2021) found that black women were four times more likely to die during pregnancy than white women, and Asian and mixed ethnicity women were twice as likely to die as white women. Similarly, those living in the most deprived areas of the UK were twice as likely to die during or after pregnancy as those living in the least deprived areas (Knight et al, 2021). These concerns are not going unnoticed. Earlier this year, the UK government announced the formation of a new taskforce to tackle disparities in maternity care (Gov.uk, 2022).
The British Journal of Midwifery is committed to doing our part to improve disparities in maternity care. This year, we have published several articles on this topic, including a literature review examining factors affecting maternal health inequalities for women who are not white British (Crowe, 2022) and an examination of gender inclusive language on NHS maternity service websites (Jennings et al, 2022). Our articles have also included reports on efforts to tackle this issue, with Chubb et al (2022) reporting on a training package to improve understanding of implicit bias for midwives when providing care for black, Asian and minority ethnic babies.
Inequality is not limited only to women receiving care, but can also be experienced by midwives themselves. In May, we published an article that explored the experiences of black, Asian and minority ethnic student midwives, which found ‘a need for diverse teaching materials and cultural inclusivity across institutions… to help combat outdated systemic Eurocentric practices and support the implementation of recently published midwifery standards’ (Pendleton et al, 2022).
This month's issue continues these efforts, with research articles that examine asylum-seeking women's experiences of maternity care in the UK and explore what refugee women want from maternity care. We also have a case study of lesbian co-mothers’ experiences of breastfeeding support. Going forward, I would encourage our community of authors to continue these submissions of high-quality research that tackle this important topic within midwifery, and for our wonderful readers to continue to engage with our articles.