The latest report from Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK (2022) has been released, giving a striking insight into midwifery and maternity care in 2018—2020. The report's data show that compared to White women, Black women are almost four times as likely to die during pregnancy and Asian women are almost twice as likely to die.
As well as ethnic inequalities, it is clear that other factors play a disproportionate role in maternity care. Those from deprived areas are more than twice as likely to die during pregnancy as those from wealthy areas, and experiencing mental health issues or domestic abuse also places women at a severe disadvantage.
The year 2022 has held further insights into maternity care, with the final Ockenden (2022) report being published, and the Kirkup (2022) review of services in East Kent.
Although I am shocked by the profound impact of inequalities in care in our maternity services, I am determined to end the year on as positive a note as possible. As I look back over this year's issues and published articles, I am proud that these concerns over inequality are not going unaddressed, at least for the authors of our articles.
This year, the British Journal of Midwifery has published many studies highlighting inequalities in care and suggesting how they could be addressed. From a literature review examining factors that contribute to maternal health inequalities (Crowe, 2022) to an examination of gender inclusive language on maternity service websites (Jennings et al, 2022), inequalities and the minorities being affected are clearly a priority. Our articles have also explored how training can impact implicit bias in maternity care (Chubb et al, 2022) and how ethnicity can affect labour induction (Winter, 2022).
Looking forward to 2023, it is my hope that we can continue to address these issues, and that the BJM can do its part to raise awareness, explore causes and establish solutions to disparities in maternity care. I know that this would not be possible without our wonderful community of authors, reviewers and readers. I would, as ever, encourage as many of you as possible to send in your research, especially that pertaining to inequalities in maternity care, so that we can contribute to improving services in 2023.