From pregnancy to birth, mothers-to-be usually receive care from various healthcare professionals, otherwise known as antenatal care.
Antenatal care makes sure that mothers and babies have the healthiest possible start at life together, so it’s important that mothers attend right from the beginning of their pregnancy.
However, some groups of women are less likely to attend these appointments than others – something that Dr Shuby Puthussery, Director of Maternal and Child Health Research Centre at the University of Bedfordshire, wants to change.
Dr Puthussery and her team will be exploring if and why black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) women, and women who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, are less likely to access antenatal care during the first three months of pregnancy.
She’ll analyse anonymous data from one of the largest maternity units in the UK to understand why this is, and how this low attendance is connected to premature birth and low birth weight.
Then, using this information, Dr Puthussery and her team will find new ways to make sure that mothers get the care they need in future.
With the help of mothers, fathers and health care providers, she and her team will develop interactive educational sessions that will be conducted in community based settings and areas of local footfall such as places of worship, local GP practices, shopping centres, public libraries, and faith group events. .
After this, Dr Puthussery and her team will then assess how well aspects of this have worked, and what hasn’t, and decide what tools could be used in future.
By helping women get the care they need, Dr Puthussery and her team will make sure a greater number of mothers and their babies are happy and healthy.