Women's Health Base

A look at women, the world and the web

Ethnic minorities suffer more complications during pregnancy

Posted by hannahflynn on March 7, 2009

Researchers can not agree on the causes of the finding that black Afro-Caribbean and Pakistani women suffer more complications during pregnancy than their white British peers.

Non-white women in the UK are 50 percent more likely to suffer from serious complications including eclampsia, pulmonary embolism and hysterectomy, it was reported in the British Medical Journal*. This  reflects findings in the US, Australia and the Netherlands

However, using ethnicity to group women in a study was branded a blunt instrument by Professor Wendy Pollock from the University of Melbourne in her editorial. She blames the use of ethnicity as a marker for the unresolved outcome of the study. It is unclear if the findings are due to differences in socio-economic status, or genetic predisposition to medical conditions which may affect pregnancy.

Reasons put forward for the findings include the fact that women in ethnic minority groups discover their pregnancies later and therefore access care later.

Women from these groups also report feeling they were not being treated with respect or spoken to in a way they understood.

*BMJ-British Medical Journal (2009, March 3). UK Black Women Have Double The Risk Of Pregnancy Complications.

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