The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) responds to the latest report by the MBRRACE-UK Collaboration on maternal mortality from 2020-2022.
The report indicated that the mortality rate for women who died during or soon after pregnancy in the UK has increased to levels not seen since 2003-2005. Thrombosis and thromboembolism was the leading cause of death in women who died during pregnancy or within six weeks of their pregnancy ending. COVID-19 was the second most common cause of death. The report also showed that the maternal death rate for Black women is three times that of white women. For Asian women it is two times higher.
Dr Ranee Thakar, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:
“The death of any pregnant woman is a tragedy. It is therefore incredibly concerning that the number of women who died during or soon after pregnancy has increased, and that Black and Asian women continue to be at much higher risk during their pregnancies.
“Every woman deserves safe, personalised and compassionate care throughout their pregnancy. Supporting this is an absolute priority for the College, through our work as educators, in our quality improvement programmes and through clinical guidance such as our thrombosis and thromboembolism guidance. We will review the report in detail to ensure these important data inform our ongoing work.
“However, it is absolutely crucial that the Government commits to sufficient, long-term NHS investment for staff recruitment, retention and training, which underpins safe and compassionate care. Maternity teams are working tirelessly at a time of unprecedented demand, with many teams impacted by high vacancy rates. These pressures are undoubtedly impacting the care that some women and birthing people receive.
“The report also adds to the weight of evidence showing lives are being lost to persistent inequalities. We continue to call for a cross-government strategy that connects every department to tackling health disparities and reducing wider inequalities, which is urgently needed.”
- Read about the RCOG maternity safety programme
- Read Reducing the Risk of Thrombosis and Embolism during Pregnancy and the Puerperium (Green-top Guideline No. 37a)
- Read Thrombosis and Embolism during Pregnancy and the Puerperium: Acute Management (Green-top Guideline No. 37b)
- Read the full report from MBRACE-UK Collaboration