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What good looks like, and why, for remote antenatal care

THIS Institute is conducting a project to co-produce good practice guidelines for remote antenatal care, supporting the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. This project launched in August 2020. Phase 1 (the survey) and Phase 2 (the interview) are now complete, with outputs in-progress. Phase 3 of the study, a discrete choice experiment, will launch in autumn 2021.

Background

Timely, high-quality antenatal care has a key role in optimising good birth outcomes. Antenatal care monitors the health and wellbeing of pregnant women and their babies, provides opportunities to discuss care during pregnancy, labour and birth, and offers a safe space to answer questions and provide reassurance. However, providing face-to-face care during the current COVID-19 pandemic is challenging. In some cases, women have received some antenatal care remotely, for example, through text messages and telephone / video calls. While remote antenatal care holds potential, little evidence is available to underpin “what good looks like”, and pregnant women’s views on remote options have not been formally assessed. This study takes a consultative consensus-building approach to the design of remote antenatal care.

The study aims to:

  • Co-produce guidance for remote antenatal care, working with key stakeholders, including pregnant women and their families.
  • Understand stakeholders’ views on what works well and why in remote antenatal care.
  • Develop guidance to help healthcare staff put this into practice.
  • Capture good practice for remote antenatal care that can be used in the future.

Approach

THIS Institute will work with stakeholders to co-produce guidance for remote antenatal care. These include women who are or were recently pregnant, healthcare professionals and managers delivering the NHS maternity care system, and national policy makers. The study includes a literature review, survey and interview studies, and a discrete choice experiment.

The study is being managed using Thiscovery, which is THIS Institute’s own online research platform. Participants have taken part in online questionnaires and interviews, and will have the opportunity to take part in one further online questionnaire. Offline options are available for those without internet access.

The project will generate evidence for the implementation and use of remote antenatal care based on research conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and enduring new learning for the future of antenatal care. Outputs from the project will be reported during 2021 and 2022.

Co-investigators

  • Dr Sanhita Chakrabarti,  Clinical Lead Bedfordshire, Luton Milton Keynes Local Maternity System
  • Professor Lucy Chappell,  NIHR Research Professor in Obstetrics, King’s College, London
  • Professor Tim Draycott,  Consultant Obstetrician, Vice President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • Dr Elizabeth Howland, Deputy Medical Director, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • Professor Richard McManus, Professor of Primary Care, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford
  • Cathy Winter,  Midwifery Lead, PROMPT Maternity Foundation

Project team
Francesca Dakin
Francesca Dakin
THIS Institute
Joann Leeding, Head of Patient & Public Involvement & Engagement
Joann Leeding
THIS Institute
Ruth Kern
Ruth Cousens
Dr Rebecca Kenny

Funding and ethics

This study is funded by the Health Foundation’s grant to The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute (THIS Institute). It is independently led by THIS Institute supported by the PROMPT Maternity Foundation, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives.  The study was reviewed by NHS HRA West Midlands – Coventry and Warwickshire Research Ethics Committee.

With thanks to

The Motherhood Group
Midaye Somali Development Network

Related links

Creating equitable remote antenatal care: the importance of inclusion – The BMJ

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