Our new Black Maternity Matters project is calling out to Black women and their families to get involved by joining its steering group and using their own personal experiences of maternity care to improve the experience of other women and their babies.

This ground-breaking project brings together midwives, parents and maternity staff from across two Bristol maternity hospitals – all with a shared ambition to improve outcomes for Black pregnant women and their babies.

Inspired by the vision that one day Black mothers will no longer be disproportionately at risk of harm during pregnancy and the first year after birth, Black Maternity Matters has been developed by the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) in partnership with Representation Matters, BCohCo, Black Mothers Matter and the two Bristol hospital trusts, North Bristol NHS Trust and University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust.

Black women are four times more likely to die during pregnancy or in the postnatal period than White women, while stillbirth rates of Black and Black British babies are over twice those for White babies.

Black Maternity Matters seeks to change this.

Up to 15 midwives, maternity healthcare support workers and maternity care assistants are forming a local collaborative, providing psychological safety and peer support in which they can explore the issues facing Black mothers and what changes can be made in how we provide more equitable maternity services and care.

Members of the collaborative will take part in an innovative six-month education and training programme led by BCohCo and Representation Matters, helping participants to see the world through the lens of others and interact with people from cultures, backgrounds or belief systems different from their own. They will examine unconscious biases and the role of the individual in perpetuating unsafe systems of care for Black women.

The training programme will give participants the tools to share their learning with colleagues in their own maternity units. Using the learning and insights they have gained, they will also be supported to design and deliver improvement projects in their maternity units, running small pilots aimed at improving care.

Noshin Menzies who is leading the Black Maternity Matters project for the West of England AHSN said:

“It is vital that the lived experiences of Black mothers and their families guide this work throughout. By joining the project’s steering group, parent partners will work alongside midwives and other maternity professionals to firstly shape the collaborative’s education and training programme, and then by giving feedback on or even helping co-design their planned improvement activities back in each hospital.”

What does being a parent partner involve?

As a parent partner, you would need to commit to around one day a month until November 2022. We will pay you for your time and any travel, although most meetings will take place online and so you will also need access to the internet. However if lack of internet access is an issue for you, please get in touch with us to discuss options.

How do I find out more and sign up?

For more detailed information, take a look at the parent partner role profile here. If you are interested in getting involved, please email us at weahsn.transformation@nhs.net. We hope to start working with parent partners as soon as possible.


Posted on April 14, 2022

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