RCPsych comments on latest MBRRACE-UK report into maternal deaths

Statement / comment
10 November 2022

Today, MBRRACE-UK published their latest Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths in the UK and Ireland.

Their report shows that the number of maternal deaths caused by mental health problems is increasing, including an increase in suicides during pregnancy and up to six weeks after.

Dr Jo Black, Chair of the Perinatal Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

“It is shocking and unacceptable that such a significant number of maternal deaths are now related to mental health. We know that suicide is the leading cause of maternal death, with suicides during pregnancy also increasing. It’s concerning that the majority of these women had no formal psychiatric diagnosis despite a history of trauma.

“If left untreated, perinatal mental health problems can have a devastating impact on mothers, babies, and their families. It is important that commitments set out in the NHS Long Term Plan are met, including increased access to specialist community care from pre-conception to 24 months after birth, and that maternity outreach clinics are available across the country, particularly in areas that need it most. This report must serve as a call for more research, collaboration and investment in perinatal mental health services and the psychiatrists to staff them.”

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