Sonographer Jackie Matthew has launched the Rep All Women (RAW) Study to examine the priorities, perceptions and experiences of all women in relation to pregnancy scanning.
The study is being funded by the College of Radiographers Industry Partnership Scheme (CoRIPS). Jackie will work with researchers from King’s College London and service users to help set shared research priorities relating to antenatal scanning in partnership with patients, the public and health professionals, whose views will be collected through a national survey.
Jackie said: ‘There is strong evidence to suggest that setting future research priorities collaboratively leads to better research and publicly relevant questions that will impact the care that we offer.’
She continued: ‘There is a second aim of the study: to explore participation and under- representation of ethnic minority groups in medical research during pregnancy. This will be done through one-on-one discussions and focus groups.
‘This is important because the Covid-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on health inequalities. In pregnancy there are well-reported inequalities relating to perinatal health outcomes, such as higher maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality for some groups.’
The study is particularly topical,being launched in Black History Month and Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month #MUAM (see page 16). The reasons women from minority backgrounds have poorer health/pregnancy outcomes are complex and research into the causes in the UK are limited.
Ultrasound and MR imaging are commonly used during pregnancy to diagnose health conditions in the baby and mother. However, many pregnancy-related studies do not include enough women from ethnically diverse backgrounds, which increases the risk of inaccurate results. This may mean that the results are not as valid for some women.
The lack of diversity could be related to how women are recruited, the women’s understanding of the research or its accessibility. Whatever the reasons, this has resulted in women from racially minoritised backgrounds being under- researched.
The project will work closely with the charity Best Beginnings, women’s health networks and will use social media to speak to women from a wide range of backgrounds. It will also speak to health professionals to find out what the most important questions are in antenatal screening, diagnosis and imaging-related care.
This will create a list of the top-10 most important areas in antenatal imaging research, agreed at a final stakeholder workshop. This could be a useful resource for students, practising sonographers and clinical academic researchers.
Using the surveys, interviews and small focus groups, the study team hopes to understand women’s perspectives on the facilitators and barriers to participating in pregnancy-related research, hearing from voices that are from a broad range of racial, cultural, social and economic backgrounds.
Sonographers and any SCoR members who have an interest in improving the care and services relating to antenatal imaging can take part in the survey. If you or anyone you know (women, birthing people, partners, friends or family) have recent experience of antenatal care, please share the survey to enable everyone to have their say.
There is a ‘thank you’ prize draw for up to £100 in Amazon vouchers or a personalised scan art photo (terms and conditions apply). Please see the survey link and social media channels for more information.