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We are looking for experts by experience to join our research team to help us test brief treatments for pregnancy related anxiety


What is the project all about?

Treating anxiety during pregnancy to improve children’s outcomes

Up to a quarter of women experience troubling symptoms of anxiety during pregnancy. For some women, these can be linked to past experiences of traumatic births or previous miscarriages. For others, these symptoms may reflect longstanding anxiety difficulties, or anticipatory anxiety about the health of the baby, about delivery or about the changes to the family that lie ahead. We know that in addition to the distress this causes women during pregnancy, anxiety during pregnancy is also associated with an increased risk of maternal postnatal mental health problems and behavioural, emotional and cognitive problems in their children.


Researchers from University College London, the University of Exeter, Bristol and Bath have developed a brief group-based intervention to treat the symptoms of anxiety for pregnant women, and an initial trial shows that the intervention is effective. The programme was designed to include both women and their partners and it consists of four antenatal group sessions, focused around several interlinked topics: self-care, problem-solving, managing uncertainty, relationships and communication. The group draws on evidence-based principles from cognitive behavioural therapy, compassion-focused therapy and mindfulness, and is specifically tailored to the needs and concerns of pregnant women and their partners. The groups were co-led by a health practitioner (usually a midwife) and a mental health practitioner. The team is keen to extend this promising work to enhance the fit of the programme to newly emerging models of antenatal mental healthcare and to examine whether the programme can improve the health and wellbeing of children born to the women participating in the groups.


How you can help?

We are preparing a grant application for a new project, in which we will explore the best ways to set up these antenatal groups, working closely with midwifery, IAPT services and/or perinatal mental health teams, and then run a randomised clinical trial to test how well the model works for women, their partners and their babies. We are keen to find experts by experience who would be interested in joining us and helping us develop the best research project and group intervention we can.


The time commitment would be approximately 1-2 hours a week, with a consultancy fee included, which would be at a full-time equivalent rate of £40,000 pa pro rata. The way the time is used would be quite flexible (so not necessarily every week), and would include joining team meetings, in person or remotely, every two weeks and helping us bring together and work with an advisory group of experts by experience to provide feedback and ideas about the study and interpret the findings.


If you are interested in joining our team please contact Prof. Pasco Fearon, at

© Make Birth Better CIC 2019

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