Guest post by Dr Magdalena Skrybant, Patient and Public Involvement Lead, CLAHRC West Midlands
Traditionally, it has been challenging to involve and engage pregnant women in research. Most pregnant women have many competing demands on their time and there are logistical and practical issues to be considered when engaging/involving women in research (I feel like weeping when someone wants to come to a meeting arranged on campus and asks if there is parking near the venue).
Rather than expecting that women will want to come onto campus to engage with our research project, Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West Midlands (CLAHRC WM) have taken a new approach. Laura Goodwin (Researcher in Maternity and Child Health theme) and I (Magdalena Skrybant, PPIE Lead) were awarded a grant from the Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fund to trial this new approach to engaging and involve pregnant women in research. Central to the application was building engagement/involvement activities into sessions that pregnant women would want to attend. Pregnancy yoga was selected as an activity that was good for women and babies, and the sessions include an opportunity to chat with a qualified midwife. This was included to ensure that the women got something out of the sessions too.
We worked with our local networks to identify two locations for the sessions: Perry Barr and Hall Green. A key activity for us now is promoting the groups to encourage attendance. We’ve had posters/flyers printed to promote the sessions and we’ve also got a website and a facebook page as our public partners have identified that social media is one of the best ways we can promote our group.
You can see our website here:
And if you’re on Facebook, it would be great if you’d like and share our page!
We’re evaluating the sessions, so we’ll be able to find out if the new approach is worthwhile. It’s early days yet, but we’re excited about this new initiative and we already have researchers who are keen to use the group to meet and engage with local women.
For more information about the project, feel free to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org