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Consultant Midwife determined to help pregnant women through research

Consultant Midwife determined to help pregnant women through research

A Consultant Midwife in south London has talked about her passion for helping women being behind her decision to become a Principal Investigator (PI) for the first time.

The Pregnancy Circles study, supported by CRN South London, brings together a group of eight to 12 women who are at similar stages in their pregnancy for clinical care, information sharing or social support. Recruitment to this study is currently paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Louise Emmett, who has been a qualified midwife for 21 years, said the study will help to improve outcomes for pregnant women. The Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust worker said:

“It is a brilliant feeling being able to help these women by being a PI on this National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supported study. Before COVID-19, we would run two sessions all day for each circle in Epsom and Carshalton on a Wednesday and Thursday and these sessions were always really busy.

“The women in these circles have become a really tight knit group. They have set up their own WhatsApp group and support each other: by making gifts, buying each other gifts or sending photos of their babies.

“We are hoping the study will help to improve the quality of care, improve outcomes, reduce the number of interventions and support the health and wellbeing of all of our mums in the long term by empowering them through education. I’d like to thank CRN South London Research Midwife Emma Wayman, the Trust’s midwifery research team working on the study and our Research Director Pauline Swift for their support in helping to make the study such a success.”

The educational programme to run the circles was created by the REACH Pregnancy Team. It is hoped these educational sessions will help to improve the overall experiences of women and their outcomes during pregnancy.

These sessions involve information sharing and self-care activities, such as women being taught to check their own blood pressure and urine, to spot potential signs of pre-eclampsia, which can cause fatal high blood pressure both during and after pregnancy.

The same two midwives deliver the classes to ensure continuity of care. The women in the circle groups are also given their own individual health check with a midwife during the session.

CRN South London’s Research Delivery Manager for Divisions 3 and 5 Joanna O’Reilly said: “I would like to congratulate Louise, Emma and Epsom and St Helier for all of their efforts and valuable contributions to this study which has so far been really successful.

“It’s so encouraging and rewarding to be supporting research which will make pregnancy and childbirth a more positive experience. I hope that studies such as this one will be able to resume safely in the not too distant future.”

You can find out more about the Pregnancy Circles model online.