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  • 1 September 2016 to 30 November 2016
  • Project No: 310
  • Funding round: FR 11

Raised blood pressure affects 1 in 10 pregnant women. Worldwide it is a major cause of maternal death and premature births. Diagnosis involves monitoring of blood pressure (BP) and urine, typically by midwives in antenatal clinics. While self-monitoring is well established in long-term health conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure) research is needed to establish whether self-monitoring of BP (SMBP) in high-risk women during pregnancy is acceptable and practical. This proposal will contribute to on-going work investigating monitoring in pregnancy.

Women's knowledge about BP during pregnancy and the risks of developing high blood pressure and/or pre-eclampsia (a serious illness of pregnancy that can lead to seizures, and affect both mother and/or her unborn baby) come from many sources -  health professionals but also online and through real-world contacts/sources. Women are encouraged to educate themselves through sources such as information leaflets, pregnancy guides and parent education classes. Informal stories of pregnancy and birth are routinely told between women. There appears to be a wealth of information available, of varying accuracy and quality. But little research on women's experiences of pre-eclampsia, what they want to know, their use of health-related social networking sites, how this might influence their decision-making. We seek to understand these issues better.

In the UK we will analyse information available to pregnant women about BP (including information from the NHS, NCT, pregnancy magazines, books, online resources/apps and stories shared online).  A preliminary test search on Netmums online forum demonstrated some women report trying SMBP, and actively discuss it with others, including what monitors they use, how they raise results with doctors (or not). Netmums and Mumsnet have both given permission (cost-free) for us to analyse posts.

This will contribute to our understanding of how to engage women more effectively in SMBP in pregnancy and ultimately improve maternity care.

Amount awarded: £21,864

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.

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