Research and engagement
The WRISK project is underpinned by principles of co-production and public engagement. Our methodology combines four core strands: WRISK Voices, composed of qualitative research with women and a media analysis; WRISK Network, where a panel of experts will review our findings and develop principles and solutions to underpin respectful and effective messages about risk; WRISK Engagement; and WRISK Dissemination.
These 5 values lie at the core of the project and inform all of our work:
1. We will take a woman-centred perspective on risk communication in pregnancy; elevating seldom-heard voices and encompassing women’s experiences regardless of pregnancy outcome.
2. We recognise and value the public health approaches to improving health outcomes as well as the challenges of public health risk messaging for pregnancy.
3. We also recognise the cultural context in which women are often held maximally responsible for the health of their pregnancy and children.
4. We recognise and value women’s autonomy and capacity to contextualise public health messages.
5. We recognise that any each woman’s pregnancy/ies will involve multiple experiences of risk.
In 2017, bpas hosted a workshop which brought together stakeholders interested in women’s sexual and reproductive health to discuss the impact of public health messages on women’s experiences of pregnancy. The group recognised that information and conversations about decisions in pregnancy can provide an invaluable guide to aid women’s decision-making. Many felt that current approaches are not doing enough to protect women’s autonomy in decision-making, and that women are not getting all the information they need to allow them to weigh up and evaluate different sorts of risks.
Stakeholders also tended to feel that not enough attention is being paid to the possible negative impact of risk messages. Public health messages directed towards women, whilst important and vital, may be inadvertently under-emphasising the impact of a woman’s surroundings, social networks, and the availability of health services on her pregnancy.
In summary, these problems may be undermining the effectiveness and credibility of public health messaging, and stakeholders recommended research be undertaken which draws on women’s experiences of risk messages relating to pregnancy.
The WRISK project is inclusive of trans, non-binary and intersex people. For this reason, the project team will always refer to individuals according to their self-determined gender. We tend to use the words ‘woman/women’ for convenience, as the great majority of people covered by the WRISK research self-identify as women. However, the WRISK project is inclusive of everyone who has been pregnant in the past five years; regardless of their gender identification. This includes trans men and non-binary individuals. If you have any questions about this please contact the research team.