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School of Health Sciences

A trial of group antenatal care: impact on the experiences and wellbeing of midwives and mothers


1st supervisor: Christine McCourt

2nd supervisor: tbc

Research Centre

Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research 

Project description

This project will link with a NIHR funded programme of research on equity of access to care for women in north and east London. This programme includes the implementation and evaluation of a group model of care, Pregnancy Circles, which aims to improve women’s social support, information and engagement with care. The project is being evaluated by the Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research in collaboration with our research partners at University of East London and the Institute of Education, who are leading the trial and at Barts Health, the service implementing the project.

Earlier research, primarily in the US, suggests that group care is associated with higher staff and user satisfaction and may have some public health benefits, but no trials have been conducted in the UK. There is still limited evidence on the impact on women and on midwives themselves, and the UK health system is very different from those countries where it has been evaluated before.

The proposed PhD project should focus in depth on an aspect of this research project, complementing and extending the planned trial and process evaluation. Relevant research questions could include one or more of the following:

  1. How does providing care in the Pregnancy Circles model impact on midwives’ confidence and self-perceived skills in supporting women, particularly with respect to women from diverse social and ethnic backgrounds
  2. In what ways do information and communication processes between midwives and women change?
  3. What impact does this model have on the professional satisfaction of midwives?
  4. What impact does this model have on women’s social networks post-birth

Recommended Skills/ Prior Learning

  1. Masters qualification in midwifery, social science or other relevant subject
  2. Prior research experience relevant to the study topic
  3. Knowledge of relevant social and public health theory