Nursing Studies

A study of pregnant women in areas of urban deprivation 

Examining how  pregnant women and new mothers living in areas of urban deprivation access and use information about how to look after themselves during pregnancy.

Compassion, communication and maternal health literacy needs: a study of women in areas of urban deprivation 

It is well recognised that caring, compassion and good communication in addition to technical expertise are crucial to achieving the best health outcomes in maternal and infant healthcare. In recent years there has been much effort put into improving communication between health professionals and between health professionals and the patients, families and communities they serve. Health literacy research has largely focussed on technicalities and the development of measurement tools and instruments to structure effective ‘communication’, for example the use of checklists and structured processes for handover between health professionals and shift changes. Research on the role of the more non-cognitive aspects of communication such as listening and caring has been more limited.

 Twenty women and fifteen health professionals will take part in individual semi-structured interviews about their views and experiences of support during pregnancy and the first 5 years of caring for their children. The participants will be living or working in an area of deprivation as signified by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.

The results of the Scottish study will be compared with results from a similar study done by the University of Sydney team in Vietnam and Australia adding to knowledge about the similarities and differences in women’s health literacy needs in pregnancy across different cultures and socio-economic environments. Ultimately the aim is to lead to better quality of care during pregnancy, birth and the puerperium for women across the globe. In particular, the study findings will be useful in informing strategies to prevent and ameliorate distress in women around the birth of their babies.

The aim of this interview study is:

  • To explore primary care staff and women's perceptions about the quality and effectiveness of communication before, during and after birth.

Project team

Professor Kirsty Foster, University of Sydney Northern Clinical School.

Dr Elaine Haycock-Stuart, Senior Lecturer & Director Postgraduate Research, The University of Edinburgh.

Dr Hazel Knox, General Practitioner, Muirhouse Medical Group, Edinburgh.