RCOG calls for urgent research into miscarriage rates
Research from The Lancet shows that Black women are at a 43% higher risk of miscarriage than white women.
A report by BBC News has explored the reasons behind this shocking statistic, speaking to women about their experiences of maternity care.
In response to this, Dr Karen Joash, consultant obstetrician and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:
“It is unacceptable that Black, Asian and minority ethnic women face worse health outcomes than white women, especially when it comes to maternity care.
"Research shows Black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth and face higher rates of stillbirth and miscarriage.
“The reasons for why these health disparities exist are complex and multi-dimensional and include implicit racial bias, a lack of high quality research and a large gender data gap.
“A contributing factor to Black, Asian, and minority ethnic women experiencing poorer treatment and outcomes is communication. Ineffective communication from medical staff can hinder consultations, negatively influence treatment options and can ultimately result in these women avoiding interactions with healthcare professionals.
“It is time to say that we should make every contact count for these women too – Let’s continue to strive to educate, care with empathy, seek to understand, break down racial barriers and change the health outcomes of these women and their families. Although the problem is complex every action can make a difference.”
Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:
“The RCOG is committed to working with the UK government, the NHS and clinicians to better understand and recognise the presence and impact of this unconscious bias in order to eliminate health disparities in the UK.
“There is a significant gender data gap in medical research particularly when it comes to health disparity outcomes in the UK. Miscarriage is an area that is poorly researched and this means we don’t have a clear understanding of why certain women experience miscarriage and recurrent miscarriage over others. We are urgently calling for further research into the many unknown factors, including potential biological factors, that may specifically contribute to the higher risk experienced by Black women compared to women from other ethnicities.”
For media enquiries, please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)7740 175342 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editor
Read the RCOG's policy position statement (PDF) on health disparities in women’s healthcare.
The Race Equality Taskforce exists to:
- Ensure the work of the RCOG is fully reflective of its stance on racial equality
- Understand and address how racism affects Fellows, Members and Trainees of the RCOG
- Improve awareness and training to combat racism within the health service
- Improve undergraduate and postgraduate education in identifying and reducing racism and unconscious bias in the workforce
- Tackle the contributing factors which have led to poorer patient outcomes for Black, Asian, and minority ethnic women
- Consider the role that medical research can play in addressing disparities in outcomes for Black, Asian, and minority ethnic women.
- Applications will be open soon for Member, Fellow and trainee representatives.