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The fifth MBRRACE-UK collaboration’s annual report Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care led by the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit shows that the number of women dying as a consequence of complications during or after pregnancy remains low in the UK - fewer than 10 of every 100,000 pregnant women die in pregnancy or around childbirth. However, the report highlights striking inequalities: black women are five times and Asian women two times more likely to die as a result of complications in pregnancy than white women and urgent research and action to understand these disparities is recommended.
Heart disease remains the leading cause of women dying during pregnancy or up to six weeks after giving birth, followed by blood clots. Maternal suicide is the fifth most common cause of women’s deaths during pregnancy and its immediate aftermath, but is the leading cause of death over the first year after pregnancy. Although there is greater awareness of the importance of mental health during pregnancy and in the first year after birth, there is still a long way to go in recognising symptoms, supporting women with mental health problems and providing access to specialist perinatal mental health care.
The report highlights the risk of blood clots, particularly among women who are overweight or obese, and emphasises the importance of awareness of symptoms, such as leg or buttock pain and breathlessness even in early pregnancy.
Women who are aged 40 or over have three times the risk of dying during or after pregnancy compared to women in their early 20s and although cancer in pregnancy is uncommon, women and their doctors and midwives need to be aware that it can happen.
The report emphasises the importance of considering the benefits of starting or continuing medication to treat physical and mental health conditions during pregnancy, as well as the risks. Many medicines are safe in pregnancy, and so ensuring a woman is properly treated while pregnant may be the best way to care for both her and her baby.
To read more you can download the full report, lay summary and the infograpic here: https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/mbrrace-uk/reports
Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Unit, full version of the podcast will follow shortly.
This year marks 40 years since the foundation of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford.
To celebrate this significant achievement we are holding a symposium and drinks reception for staff, former staff and our many colleagues and collaborators, at the Museum of Natural History on Thursday 11th October 2018. The theme of the event will be "The big issues in maternal and child health. Forty years on – are there any questions left to answer?"
We are looking forward to welcoming invited guests, and taking the opportunity to thank the many people who have helped to make possible the work that we do.
The NPEU will be taking part in the upcoming science festival IF Oxford Science and Ideas
We shall be presenting a table-top game called 'What Confuses Epidemiologists?' which allows the public to conduct a hands-on population study from scratch to find out what indeed confuses epidemiologists!
We shall be exhibiting at:
- Broad Street, Friday 12th October, noon to 6 p.m. (Big Ideas on Broad Street)
- The Oxford Academy, Littlemore, Sunday 21st October, noon to 5 p.m. (Littlemore Life Lab)
If you'll be in the area, please come and say hello!
NPEU at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Social Medicine (SocSocMed), 5th to 7th September
Mary Kroll and Neora Alterman will be presenting their research at this year's Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Social Medicine in Glasgow this week.
Mary will talk about survival of preterm babies in England and Wales and present findings from her study which explored whether the chances of survival after preterm birth differ between ethnic and socio-economic groups.
Neora's talk will explore evidence for the association between mode of delivery and childhood wheezing.
If you'll be attending the conference please come and say hello.
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