Annual Review
Listening to the experiences of women and birthing people
— Case study

Listening to the experiences of women and birthing people

Our Perinatal Health Equity Programme in 2022/23 aimed to improve equity of health and wellbeing outcomes for women and birthing people during pregnancy, and babies up to one year old. 

Our work over the last year has included mapping perinatal user insights, through in-depth user research, health inequalities data and gathering information from health and care staff. 

Our in-depth user research was with 45 individuals through a series of focus groups, interviews and online conversations. The purpose was to understand women and birthing people’s experiences, perceptions, and suggestions of ways to improve perinatal health access, outcomes, and experience.  

Our approach was also to reach those individuals (who are seldom heard), and we were able to engage women and birthing people who face a range of health inequalities, due to the factors listed below: 

  • Rurality
  • Mental Health
  • Living in deprivation
  • Intellectual disability
  • Maternal age (both ‘young’ and ‘old’)
  • Domestic abuse
  • Substance use
  • Being born outside of the UK
  • Ethnicity
  • Education and employment status
  • BMI 
A new mother takes her baby to the doctor who is listening to the child's heartrate with a stethoscope

Our learning from this work is helping us to: 

  • Gain deeper insight into how to support service change and innovations to ensure we start to address the needs and experiences of those who face inequity 
  • Develop understanding of unmet need 
  • Reach individuals that are often not reached through traditional methods, such as surveys or service consultations. 

As a result of our insight work, we have developed personas that draw attention to the key health inequality factors that often contribute to poor outcomes for pregnant women and birthing people. 

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