Rochelle Humes was moved to tears as one Black woman revealed how she almost died during childbirth due to having six litres of blood in her stomach.
The This Morning presenter hosted Dispatches: Black Maternity Scandal on Monday, to investigate why Black women are around four times more likely to die during childbirth than white women in the UK.
During one harrowing scene, Rochelle became overwhelmed with emotion as Jade, a mother-of-three, explained how she hemorrhaged during her first birth and had to receive a blood transfusion.
‘I remember saying to the doctor, “I’m not gonna die, am I?” It probably felt more traumatic at the time,’ Jade recalled.
She elected for an emergency C-section which went well and her twins were delivered safe and well.
However, the situation turned desperate as Jade began to feel excruciating pain.
‘From there is when it becomes a bit of a daze. I remember asking for morphine so I had morphine and I remember asking for food,’ she recalled.
Jade continued: ‘My husband raised the alarm a couple of times like hey, my wife isn’t really responding to me, she’s not really doing much.
‘I was left in that state for quite a while until my husband was continuously raising the alarm.’
Doctors likened Jade’s drowsy symptoms to a hangover and a natural reaction to the morphine. It wasn’t until 12 hours later that she was given an antidote to reverse the effects.
Jade said: ‘I remember saying, “I’m in pain, my stomach”. They did the scan, six litres of blood was in my stomach. Within three or four minutes I was in theatre because I guess it was a life-or-death situation.’
When Rochelle – who is a mother-of-three herself – asked if Jade feels she would have been listened to if she were a white woman, she replied: ‘Possibly yeah. I am black and I don’t want to [come across as] aggressive. When you sit here with the reality of was i not listened to because of my skin colour, that cuts deep.’
The documentary revealed that Black African women are 83% more likely to suffer a maternal near-miss, which refers to situations where women experience severe life-threatening complications during pregnancy, delivery or post pregnancy which they survive either by chance or because they receive good care.
Viewers were horrified by the statistics and emotional experiences of the Black women featured in the documentary.
Referring to Jade’s ordeal, one tweeted: ‘6 litres of blood in her stomach? Omg, it’s amazing she’s still alive.’
‘The Black Maternity Scandal is a watershed moment. Imagine in 2021 there is a documentary on UK TV exploring why Black women are more likely to die in pregnancy and up to a year after birth & between 80%-90% to experience near misses. A disgrace,’ another said.
One viewer applauded: ‘Well done to Rochelle and most importantly all the women who told their stories in this documentary and those doing the work. Glad some awareness has been raised. Hoping for change now because the disparities are actually frightening.’
The Government declined to take part in the documentary but Minister for Maternity, Nadine Dorries, said in a statement: ‘The colour of a woman’s skin should have no impact on her or her baby’s health.
‘I am absolutely committed to tackling disparities and making sure all women get the right support and best possible maternity care.
‘I have launched an oversight group to monitor how the health service is tackling maternal inequalities.’
The Five x More foundation, featured in the documentary, has set up a JustGiving campaign for donations to help the group continue to raise awareness towards Black maternity issues.
Dispatches: The Black Maternity Scandal is available to watch on All 4.
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