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Pregnant women’s experiences and perceptions of the EVERREST project

Fetal growth restriction is a serious complication responsible for 30% of stillbirths. The EVERREST programme aims to study these cases in order to develop best practice and treatments. Birmingham City University and UCL researchers assisted the project by evaluating the participants' experiences of the project. 

EVERREST project large

Researchers

  • Merryl Harvey
  • Rebecca Spencer
  • Anna David
  • Jade Dyer (University College, London)

Research background

Fetal growth restriction affects 8% of pregnancies and accounts for 30% of stillbirths. The EVERREST Prospective Study (EPS) is a multicentre observational cohort study of pregnancies affected by severe early-onset fetal growth restriction.  In the longer term, the EPS team aims to carry out a phase I/IIa trial of maternal Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor gene therapy for severe early-onset FGR. 

Research aims

A qualitative study was undertaken as part of the EPS. The aim of the qualitative study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of pregnant women taking part in research during a pregnancy affected by severe early-onset fetal growth restriction. The findings will inform the development of the phase I/IIa trial.

Research methods 

A retrospective descriptive qualitative study of women who had participated in the EPS was undertaken. Recorded telephone interviews were carried out with 12 mothers. The recordings were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis.

Results

All participants recalled their reaction to being told their baby was smaller than expected and the ways this news was given had a lasting impact. A range of benefits of participation in the EVERREST Prospective Study was described and the participants were positive about the way it was conducted. The findings highlight the willingness of pregnant women to participate in research and identify strategies to engage participants in future research.

The findings have been presented at national (British Maternal & Fetal Medicine Society, Brighton, April 2018) and international conferences (Fetal Growth, Milan, October 2018). A paper has been submitted to BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth (decision awaited). The study report has been submitted to the funders.