Ms Jenny Cunningham

Research project: Women's experiences of weight stigma in UK maternity care: how can care be improved for people of higher weight? A Critical Participatory Action Research study

Abstract

To better understand the experience of weight stigma as experienced by pregnant women with a raised body mass index (≥30m/kg²) and to find ways to reduce weight stigma in maternity services.

The research objectives:

  • To undertake a meta-ethnography to examine the experiences and perceptions of weight stigma of women with a raised body mass index (BMI ≥30m/kg²) in maternity care
  • To use a qualitative methodology to investigate what women would like changed in maternity services to improve their c
  • To use Critical Participatory Action Research (CPAR) which will involve the building of a research collective to advise and drive the project direction.
  • To bring forward solutions to improve care of higher weight women.
  • To disseminate these findings together with the research collective.
  • To develop post-doctoral work which will focus on how to implement solutions to reduce or eradicate weight stigma in maternity services.
  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: Women's experiences of weight stigma in UK maternity care: how can care be improved for people of higher weight? A Critical Participatory Action Research study
  • Other research supervisor: Dr Melania Calestani

Biography

I qualified as a midwife in 2007 and have worked both clinically and in research. I  now work for the Royal College of Midwives as one of its Research Advisors whilst studying for my PhD.

Areas of research interest

  • Pregnancy
  • Raised body mass index
  • Antenatal care
  • Midwives
  • Maternity services

Qualifications

  • MSc Woman's Health, Plymouth University
  • Dip HE Midwifery, Plymouth University
  • BA (Hons) Education and Environmental Science, Froebel College, Roehampton

Funding or awards received

  • 1st prize in poster competition, Royal College of Midwives Education and Research Conference 2023
  • Iolanthe Trust Midwives Award 2022
  • Kingston University studentship
  • Royal Devon & Exeter Foundation Trust - small grant scheme

Publications

Cull, J, Anwar, N, Brooks, E, Cunningham, J, Forman, J, Hall, D (2022) Why are some voices not heard? Exploring how maternity care can be improved for women with limited English, in MIDIRS Midwifery Digest, vol 32, no 2, June 2022, pp 142-146

Cunningham, J, Endacott, R, Gibbons, D  (2018) The experiences of pregnant women with a raised Body Mass Index (BMI) regarding their communication with midwives and other healthcare professionals, in British Journal of Midwifery 26, 9

Cunningham, J, Goldsmith, L and Skirton, H (2014)  The evidence base regarding the experiences of and attitudes to preimplantation genetic diagnosis in prospective parents, in Midwifery 31, pp. 288-296 

Conference papers

'How do women with a higher weight (Body Mass Index ≥30 kg/m²) experience weight stigma in maternity care? Findings from a meta-ethnography' at the International Labour and Birth Research Conference, 24-26 April 2023