Mums from BAME backgrounds who have given birth in the last two years are being asked to share their maternity care experiences to improve services in region.

The Lancashire and South Cumbria Maternity and Newborn Alliance is working with researchers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to conduct an online anonymous survey with an aim to develop strong guidelines around delivering culturally sensitive maternity care and reduce existing inequalities.

Gill Thomson, Professor in Perinatal Health at UCLan, who is leading the project said: “Women from ethnic minority backgrounds tend to have poorer experiences and outcomes during and after childbirth compared to women who are White British, and the care they receive often does not meet their cultural needs.

“This may be because of language barriers, cultural stereotyping, feeling ostracised by the community because of perceived taboos around pregnancy and mental health support or just not feeling like they can access the support they need."

The study is specifically targeted at women, over the age of 18, who are from an ethnic minority group and have given birth in Lancashire or South Cumbria since January 2019.

Women who received care in the East Lancashire area at the Blackburn Birth Centre, Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre in Burnley, the Central Birth Suite in Burnley General Teaching Hospital, Burnley Birth Centre and Rossendale Birth Centre will be able to put themselves up for the study.

A pregnant South Asian mother who has already contributed to the study said: “It is so important that women from ethnic minority backgrounds are listened to. We should feel comfortable accessing maternity services knowing that we will be treated with respect and heard.

“We just want to be treated fairly and to feel safe. Many of us are aware of the increased complications women from our backgrounds experience when pregnant and in labour and our experiences need to be taken seriously to ensure the safety of both mother and child.”

By working with these specific groups of women, the Lancashire and South Cumbria Maternity and Newborn Alliance

The other trusts and/or hospitals where women need to have received their care are:

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay

• Helme Chase, Westmorland General Hospital – Birth Centre

• Royal Lancaster Infirmary – Central Delivery Suite

• South Lakes Birth Centre, Furness General Hospital – Birth Centre

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

• Blackpool Victoria Hospital - Delivery Suite

• Fylde Coast Birth Centre

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

• Royal Preston Hospital, Sharoe Green – Delivery Suite

• Royal Preston Hospital, Sharoe Green – Birth Centre

• Chorley Birth Centre

The anonymous survey is available until June and can accessed online in seven different languages (Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Polish, Romanian and Arabic) -