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Access and quality of maternity care for disabled women during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period in England: data from a national survey

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.

You can read the full paper in the BMJ Open.

Sociodemographic differences in women’s experience of early labour care

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.

Father involvement in early child upbringing and depressive symptoms in their pre-adolescent children

NPEU researchers Charles Opondo, Maggie Redshaw and Maria Quigley have published their findings on a study exploring the association between father involvement in child upbringing and symptoms of depression in the pre-adolescent years.

The study, which looked at data from about 7,500 children in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), found that emotionally reponsive parenting by fathers was associated with fewer symptoms of depression in their pre-teenage children. It follows from a previous study by the same researchers which found a positive effect of parenting by fathers on behavioural outcomes in their children.

The study was funded by the Department for Health through the Policy Research Programme.

You can read more about the study in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Parents' experience of perinatal post-mortem following stillbirth

Following on from the Listening to Parents study of parental experience of care before, during and after a stillbirth or neonatal death, Maggie Redshaw and Jane Henderson have analysed the data relating to offer and uptake of post-mortem following a stillbirth.

Not all women and their partners were offered a post-mortem, with Black women being significantly less likely to be offered this. Of those who were offered it, the majority of women felt sufficiently informed to make a decision. A third of couples had to wait longer than 12 weeks for the post-mortem results and parents’ anguish about this was the most common theme in the free text comments.

Read about this study, which has been published in PLOS One.

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