The number of disabled women choosing to become mothers is growing. However, stigma still exists about such women’s capabilities. Healthcare professionals may be concerned that these women will not be able to cope with pregnancy and motherhood.
NPEU researchers Reem Malouf, Jane Henderson and Maggie Redshaw have published the findings of a study of the quality of maternity care received by disabled women in England in 2015.
The findings indicate some gaps in maternity care provision for these women relating to interpersonal aspects of care: communication, feeling listened to and supported, involvement in decision making, having a trusted and respected relationship with clinical staff. Women from all disability groups wanted more postnatal contacts and help with infant feeding.
Poppi investigators Dr Rebeccah Slater and Dr Fiona Moultrie recently featured in a BBC Radio 4 programme entitled ‘From Agony to Analgesia’. The episode, ‘Seeing Pain’, was broadcast on 16th August 2017 and explored current research in the field of pain, including areas such as pain measurement in premature babies, phantom limb syndrome and chronic pain. Dr Slater and Dr Moultrie explain current approaches used to measure pain in babies, and the possibility of using brain activity as a new measure of pain. In particular, they discuss how pain could be determined specifically in premature babies in the context of the Poppi trial. The full radio programme can be accessed at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08r1tsx#play.
New research has identified 10 core outcomes that key stakeholders consider most important in determining whether treatment of children with Hirschsprung’s disease (HD) has been successful. This research, titled the NETS¹ᴴᴰ study, has been published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, and was conducted by NPEU researchers Ben Allin, Marian Knight and Jenny Kurinczuk and consultant paediatric surgeons Gregor Walker, Tim Bradnock and Simon Kenny. The study team worked with around 150 stakeholders including people with HD, parents of children with HD and healthcare professionals managing children with HD. Together they developed a HD core outcome set (COS) of 10 outcomes, which includes measures for mortality, quality of life, bowel function and unplanned reoperation.
HD is a rare disorder present at birth in which the nerves within the bowel are not properly developed. Whilst there are many ways to treat HD, no gold standard management strategy has been identified. Use of this HD COS can reduce the variability of reported outcomes of HD, making it easier to identify gold standard treatments for children with HD. You can read the published research in full on the BMJ site. Further research on the impact of different surgical interventions on the HD COS will begin in September 2017.
Early labour is usually a slow process during which women, especially if it is their first baby, may feel distress and anxiety, and lose confidence in their ability to cope.
NPEU researchers Maggie Redshaw and Jane Henderson have published the findings of a mixed methods study exploring how women from different backgrounds and cultures differed in their experience of early labour care, using survey data collected in 2014.
They found that women from Black and minority ethnic groups reported greater worry about early labour, but most women who contacted the hospital at the start of labour perceived the advice received as helpful. Many women reported that not being allowed to come into hospital or to stay in hospital if they were not thought to be in active labour was very distressing.
You can read more about the findings of this study in the BMJ Open.
In an editorial published this week, Marian Knight and Charlie Foster highlight new evidence which provides reassuring information about the safety of physical activity in pregnancy. The evidence suggests that diet and physical activity interventions can help control weight gain.
The UK Chief Medical Officers have recently issued new guidance on physical activity in pregnancy, which has been developed by a collaborative group involving researchers and the design team at the NPEU. The new advice was constructed by the CMO Expert Committee for Physical Activity and Pregnancy, which included midwives, obstetricians, exercise physiologists, GPs, public health consultants, sports medicine experts, exercise professionals, nursing and research scientists. The aim was to produce evidence-based messaging for health professionals to use with the public. The infographic was developed and tested with panels of health professionals and pregnant women before consultation with more than 250 UK-based doctors and midwives.
The infographic, supported by an online FAQ document, highlights that physical activity helps to reduce hypertensive disorders, improve cardiorespiratory fitness, lower gestational weight gain and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. It recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week.