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In the UK, in common with other high resource countries, women giving birth are becoming older and have more pre-existing health problems. The most recent statistics on maternal deaths (Knight et al 2014) show that the maternal mortality rate from medical complications in pregnancy is almost 50% higher than the mortality rate from direct (obstetric or pregnancy-related) complications. This suggests that the outcomes of pregnancy for women with co-existing medical problems are poorer than the outcomes of pregnancy for women without such complications. A number of possible explanations for these poorer outcomes have been suggested, including a lack of pre-pregnancy care and/or counselling.

The aim of this project will be to examine in detail the epidemiology of a group of women with a specific medical complication in pregnancy. It is anticipated that this would involve a series of linked studies, including, but not limited to: a systematic review of the literature on the epidemiology and outcomes of the condition in pregnancy to identify factors associated with poor outcomes, a national epidemiological study of women with the condition using routine data sources, a national study of women with severe complications of the condition using a specific data collection platform such as the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) (, a detailed examination of the care of women who died from the condition in pregnancy using data collected through the MBRRACE-UK Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths (

Knight, M., et al. (2014). Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care - Lessons learned to inform future maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2009-12. Oxford, National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford.

Research eperience, research methods, and skills training

The project will provide range of training opportunities in epidemiological and health services research methods, including literature review, design and conduct of epidemiological studies and use of routine data. In addition, the project will develop statistical expertise in basic comparative analytic techniques and multivariable regression analyses.

Prospective candidate

This project would suit a candidate wishing to develop expertise in a range of techniques in epidemiology and health services research, with a particular interest in pregnancy and childbirth.