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New mother explains how BAME women can stay safe in their pregnancy during the coronavirus pandemic

A new mother has made a short film outlining her experiences of pregnancy during the coronavirus pandemic - and explains how pregnant black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) women can stay safe and well.

Victoria Alabi from Colchester, with her nine-week old daughter Morayo, responds to the new research which shows that maternal and perinatal mortality rates are significantly higher for BAME women and their babies than white women, and BAME women are more likely to be hospitalised from COVID-19 than white women.[1]

Victoria urges pregnant people to be alert to the fact that pregnancy can also alter how your body handles severe viral infections.[2]

She also highlights her experiences and the extra precautions she saw being taken by NHS maternity services, so pregnant women need not be anxious about accessing care and support, encouraging others to follow national guidelines to keep safe and well.

Victoria says: “During my time of pregnancy I was aware that, as a black woman, I was more likely than my white counterparts to be admitted to hospital for coronavirus.

“That’s why I wanted to make this short film. I believe it’s important that other pregnant women are aware of that heightened risk and are fully informed on how they can best reduce it.

“I understand the anxiety that women feel but I would say that this is not the time to avoid going to the hospital, GP surgery or health clinic. Midwives have told me that fewer antenatal care appointments are being taken up, and yet this is the time when we really should all be getting our check-ups. Pregnant people need to be fully informed on the state of their own health and that of their baby.

“Due to reduced levels of melanin in BAME skin, which reduces the rate of absorption of Vitamin D from sunlight, it’s recommended that pregnant people regularly take a Vitamin D supplement. 

“This is a really necessary and important vitamin which helps support your baby’s bones and growth. 

“Finally, although pregnancy is a time where we would normally want to be with others to share the joys and challenges, we must stick to the national guidelines of hands, face and space. I certainly missed sharing those special moments of pregnancy with family and friends in person, but by staying safe and following the rules I have a wonderful, joyful nine-week-old baby whom I love dearly.”

You can watch Victoria’s short film HERE

[1] https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/06/nhs-boosts-support-for-pregnant-black-and-ethnic-minority-women/

[2] https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/#coronavirus

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