Minority women wanted for survey after shocking maternity statistics

Women from ethnic minority backgrounds are being urged to fill in an anonymous survey to help improve maternity care in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

The survey is being carried out by UCLan researchers who are working with Lancashire and South Cumbria Maternity Transformation Programme to improve 'culturally sensitive maternity care'.

Local women from ethnic minority groups who have given birth in the last two years are being asked to share their maternity care experiences to improve services.

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Research published this week in medical journal 'The Lancet' revealed that black women experience 40% higher miscarriage rates than white women.

Professor Gill Thomson will lead the study which aims to improve maternity care for black and ethnic minority women.

Professor Gill Thomson, who is leading the project, said: “Women from ethnic minority backgrounds tend to have poorer experiences and outcomes during and after childbirth compared to women who are white British, and the care they receive often does not meet their cultural needs.

“This may be because of language barriers, cultural stereotyping, feeling ostracised by the community because of perceived taboos around pregnancy and mental health support or just not feeling like they can access the support they need.

“Through this study, we aim to learn from personal experiences and use this evidence to increase knowledge and skills."

It is hoped that the survey will inform future care both before and after birth for ethnic minority women in the counties.

One pregnant Asian mother who has already taken part in the study said: “It is so important that women from ethnic minority backgrounds are listened to.

"We should feel comfortable accessing maternity services knowing that we will be treated with respect and heard.

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"Many of us are aware of the increased complications women from our backgrounds experience when pregnant and in labour and our experiences need to be taken seriously to ensure the safety of both mother and child.

“We just want to be treated fairly and to feel safe."

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Data will be used to inform best practice and to 'provide culturally safe maternity care and mental health support for ethnic minority women'.

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Researchers will work with community and faith-based groups to gather a range of experiences in the hope of reducing inequalities in maternity care.

Coralie Rogers, a lead midwife, said: “In line with the findings of the national maternity review, it is important to offer high quality and safe care to all women.

“All women need access to care that can be personalised to their own individual needs, which means understanding the experiences women have had within our services."

The anonymous survey can be accessed at this link until June and is available in seven different languages (Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Polish, Romanian and Arabic).

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