Invite to join Jenny Cunningham’s Research Collective

It must be springtime – all the researchers are looking for participants! This week it’s the turn of Jenny Cunningham’s Research Collective. I’ll let her explain more:

Improving care for higher weight women and people during maternity care. Can you help?

Pic of Jenny - Jenny Cunningham's Research Collective needs you!
Jenny Cunningham, midwife & PhD student

My name is Jenny Cunningham. I am a PhD student at Kingston University and a midwife and I want to improve the care that higher weight women and birthing people receive during maternity care in the UK. By higher weight, I mean a Body Mass Index of ≥30 kg/m², as this is the threshold that results in women being on a different maternity pathway for some or all their pregnancy.

Weight Stigma

I recently completed a review of what weight stigma looks like in pregnancy and you can see a summary of some my findings here https://shameandmedicine.org/maternity-care-for-women-of-a-higher-weight-how-is-shame-experienced/. You probably will not be too surprised about what I found. We have known for some time that women of a higher weight can experience stigma in pregnancy and often have fewer choices in terms of place of birth.

I want to find out more about the UK context and how maternity care could be improved and enhanced for higher weight women and people. To do this I am setting up an advisory group, which I am calling a Research Collective. The collective will be made up of people with a higher weight who have used – or are currently using – UK maternity services and they will guide and develop the design and running of the study.

The Research Collective

The idea for a Research Collective comes from a particular type of research approach called Critical Participatory Action Research. This has its roots in social justice and the activist call of “no research on us, without us”. The idea is to have co-researchers from the community alongside traditionally trained researchers. In my case, I know that my project will not be possible or ethical without a group of co-researchers and I hope that members of the Big Birtha community may want to join me.

The collective will help me make decisions, such as what is the appropriate language to use? Should I use interviews to find out more?  What questions should I ask? Another important role for the collective is how to share any findings from the project. This can be as creative as you like!

Your commitment

The collective will meet with me online 6 times over the length of the project, with the first meeting planned for early April. As I am doing my PhD part time, the project will last about 2 years and 3 months, but members of the collective can take part as much or little as they like. No research experience is needed to be part of the collective.

As a PhD student I do not have additional funding to pay members to attend the collective, but I do have £20 shopping vouchers for each member for at least the first two meetings they attend.

Please get in touch with me with if you are interested or want to find out more K2030248@kingston.ac.uk

on Twitter @djennymidwife

or Instagram  @phdjennymidwife

Thanks Jenny! I’m looking forward to it.

Leave a reply here to get involved!