Rochelle Humes: Maternal mortality rates are stark reminder of racial inequality

Tom Horton, PA
·2-min read

Rochelle Humes has said maternal mortality rates are a “stark reminder” of the racial inequalities that exist in the UK.

The singer, 32, has presented new Channel 4 Dispatches documentary The Black Maternity Scandal, which focuses on the healthcare black women receive during their pregnancy.

According to the documentary, which airs on Monday, black women are four times more likely to die in pregnancy than white women.

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During the programme, Humes said: “From the first moment you find out you are pregnant and you have done the test, it’s such a personal journey, so it means something different to everybody and there’s parts to your pregnancy where you think, ‘I hope everything’s all right’.

“But not at any point should you think, ‘Am I going to make it through this because of my race?'”

She added: “We are lucky to have the NHS, but the maternal mortality rates are a stark reminder of wider racial inequalities in society.

“Until these issues are fixed, reducing the disparity feels a long way off.”

The Black Maternity Scandal: Dispatches sees Humes meet with a number of black women who have experienced problems during their pregnancy.

She also visited Newham Hospital in east London, which is aiming to ensure more women interact with the same midwives throughout their pregnancy.

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The scheme aims to increase the understanding between patients and those that are caring for them, according to the programme.

After visiting the hospital, Humes said: “I have seen myself today how bespoke it seems to be here, but I wonder when we are going to get to a point where that translates and that’s how the UK looks.”

Humes and her husband Marvin Humes welcomed son Blake in October 2020.

They are also parents to daughters Alaia-Mai and Valentina Raine.

Dr Habib Naqvi, director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, said: “It is simply unacceptable that black women continue to face up to four times the risk of death in pregnancy than white women, and Asian women also fare worse when it comes to poor experiences of maternity care and illness.

“The observatory is investigating these disparaging figures and the long-standing health inequalities around maternity and neonatal outcomes that disproportionately affect black and minority ethnic women.”

The Black Maternity Scandal: Dispatches airs on Monday at 8pm on Channel 4.