NCT volunteers, practitioners and peer supporters will be familiar with some of the public health messages that try to help women make decisions about what they do and don’t do during pregnancy. Amongst other topics, expectant mums receive advice about what to eat and drink, how much they should weigh, how to exercise, what medications they should or shouldn’t take and how to bond with their baby.
These messages are intended to improve outcomes for mothers and babies. However, navigating this ever-more-complicated risk landscape can often feel confusing and overwhelming – and sometimes judgemental.
Our research with parents has shown just how tricky this can be. During 2018, we worked with Good Innovation to conduct in depth research with expectant and new parents on their experiences of becoming a parent and the support they received. We found that excitement quickly turned to anxiety, in part due to the huge volume of conflicting advice. We found a universal need for support with navigating information and knowing who to trust.
“It was really difficult to find simple guidance…. there’s so many forums with often unhelpful advice that it all felt a bit overwhelming.”
“I googled a lot and found so many conflicting sources of information, it would have been helpful to know who to trust.”
Two expectant mums, reflecting on their experiences of early pregnancy.
We’re therefore really excited to be working with the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and Cardiff University on the WRISK project. This project aims to develop recommendations to improve women’s experiences of how risk is communicated in pregnancy and to contribute to public health.
At this early stage of the project, we’d love it if as many women as possible could complete this survey to help to shape the recommendations.
The survey is open to all women who have been pregnant in the last five years regardless of experiences of pregnancy or how that pregnancy ended. The survey asks about risk-related topics, how women feel about the advice received, and any areas that could do with greater attention or better communication.
We’d appreciate your support in sharing this survey so that we can reach a wide range of parents across the UK.
As well as this survey, the team will be conducting interviews and focus groups to better understand the experiences of women from a range of backgrounds. Based on these experiences, a panel made up of public health specialists, voluntary support organisations, scientists, social scientists, health professionals and women’s rights advocates will co-produce recommendations to improve the way that risks are communicated.
Further information on the project:
The WRISK project is a collaboration between Clare Murphy and Rebecca Blaylock at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) and Heather Trickey at Cardiff University. The co-investigator team includes NCT, Birthrights, Pregnancy Sickness Support, Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC), Public Health Wales and researchers at Southampton University and at UCL. WRISK is funded by the Wellcome Trust. You can read more about the project here: www.wrisk.org