This month, the latest “MBRRACE UK Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care Lay Summary” was published. Unfortunately, the report highlighted the many inequalities and improvements needed in maternity care.
Mental health issues remain one of the leading causes of maternal death in pregnancy and the first postnatal year. Many of the women who died from suicide or substance misuse faced multiple adversity. Assessors felt that improvements in care might have made a difference in outcome for 67% of women who died by suicide, 29% who died from substance misuse and 18% of those who died by homicide.
There are still stark gaps in mortality rates between those from affluent and deprived areas. Race sadly continues to be a significant factor in the gaps and inequalities, with women from Black ethnic groups four times more likely to die than women from White groups. Women from Asian ethnic backgrounds are almost twice as likely to die in pregnancy compared to White women.
This report emphasises the crucial role The PANDAS Foundation plays in maternity care and support. We remain dedicated to providing accessible and free support for every parent, carer and their network who need us, no matter what their background.
We know that the effects of the pandemic have only exacerbated the issues outlined in this report (which is based on pre-pandemic data and information), and that our services are now needed like never before. As the report outlines “Advocacy and peer support groups are a critical part of the maternity landscape. They are able to provide information, emotional and practical support, help people seek advice and improve access to or engagement with services”
As a charity we continue to rise to the ever-growing demand on us, and to act as early intervention care, easing the pressure on the NHS in the process. As a charity we are so grateful for the support of the community, both in terms of its awareness raising and its fundraising efforts, without which we would not be able to do what we do.
We hope that with further recognition and financial support we can continue to thrive and expand our services, in a landscape where they are so very needed, as outlined by this report. Read the full report here.