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Exploring the challenges of becoming a parent in Coventry during the Covid-19 pandemic

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Having a baby is emotionally and physically demanding. The experience has been worsened by the huge disruption to society, health services and support networks caused by Covid-19.

People from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, partly because they are more likely to live in deprived areas.

Women from deprived areas and/or from Black or Asian ethnic groups also have higher rates of maternal morbidity and mortality.

This project captured the experiences of new parents from Black and Asian backgrounds, who live in Coventry and who have experienced pregnancy and childbirth during the pandemic.

The project ran in collaboration with MAMTA (Child & Maternal Health Programme for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Women in Coventry).

Dr Sarah Hillman (Warwick Medical School) is a project lead.

The researchers spoke with twelve new mothers, from Black and Asian backgrounds, who live in Coventry and had babies during the pandemic. The themes discussed included the challenges of becoming a parent during the pandemic, experiences of peer, healthcare and community support, and unexpected positives that have come out of the pandemic.

The conversations were used to create a video (below) to represent the experiences that they shared. The aim of the video is to open up discussion around the challenges of becoming new parents during the Covid-19 pandemic, and to help increase engagement with peers and health care providers. The work is also being written up for publication.

Researchers anticipate that the findings will inform a subsequent application for funding to undertake a more substantial piece of research.

‘A film by Emily Warner and Lucy Hutchinson’

The project is led by Dr Sarah Hillman (Warwick Medical School), Professor Jeremy Dale (Warwick Medical School), Professor Debra Bick (Warwick Medical School), Dr Julia Gauly (Warwick Medical School) and Dr Becky MacGregor (Warwick Medical School).