Start Date:  June 2010   End Date:  May 2011   Status: Completed

National and international health care guidance recommends that women receive check-ups as early as possible in their pregnancy, ideally before 10 weeks. Previous research and data suggests that ensuring women receive these check-ups is not always straightforward or easy, particularly for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged women who may have complex medical and social needs. This is a one year study to investigate how to improve services for pregnant women and families living in the East London borough of Newham.


  • to better understand the complex challenges faced in delivering equity in access to antenatal care among highly socially disadvantaged and ethnically diverse communities with complex medical and social needs
  • to generate new evidence about differential levels of access and how the service configuration, referral system, and cultural, social and economic position of women in Newham influence these
  • to use this local evidence and the wider evidence base to work with local women and service providers to develop interventions / service innovations to improve access to, and experiences of antenatal care for those groups of women who currently use antenatal services the least


  • Analysis of routinely collected hospital data
  • Qualitative interviews and focus group discussions
  • Systematic review and service mapping

Contact us

Project Lead: Professor Angela Harden (University of East London; NUHT)

Project Team: Bethan Hatherall, Adrian Renton, Ge Yu (UEL), Joanne Morris, Shanti Vijayaraghavan, Sheila Adam, Inderjeet Kaur, Rosemary Heed (NUHT), Rachel Flowers (NHS Newham), Meg Wiggins, Vicki Strange (IoE)

Funder: NIHR Programme Development Grant

Project Partners: Newham University Hospital Trust (NUHT), Institute of Education (IoE)

Report: Cresswell JA, Yu G, Hatherall B, Morris J, Jamal F, Harden A, Renton A. (2013) Predictors of the timing of initiation of antenatal care in an ethnically diverse urban cohort in the UK. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2013 13(1):103

Hatherall, B., Morris, J., Jamal, F., Sweeney, L., Wiggins, M., Kaur, I., Renton, A., Harden, A. (2016) Timing of the initiation of antenatal care: an exploratory qualitative study of women and service providers in East London. Midwifery, Volume 36, May 2016, Pages 1-7.

For more information, contact: Angela Harden

Angela Harden

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