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South Asian Women’s Access to Pregnancy Services

South Asian Women’s Access to Pregnancy Services

South Asian Women’s Access to Pregnancy Services

Start Date:  Nov 2012   End Date:  Jan 2016   Status: Completed


The aim of this study is to investigate uptake of antenatal care and other pregnancy related services by South Asian women living in the East London borough of Newham (UK) and South Asia.

It is part of GIFTS, a larger EC-funded programme of research, lead by Prof Graham Hitman and sponsored by Queen Mary University of London. The GIFTS programme focuses on foetal and early life programming as an opportunity for the prevention of diabetes and obesity in people of South Asian origin. Current diabetes/obesity prevention strategies are focussed on adult life, but environmental factors which interact with genetic risk are of particular importance during pregnancy and early life. As research in the area of ‘foetal programming’ develops, strategies for preventing future adult metabolic diseases (which are highly prevalent in South Asian populations) will focus on the foetal and early development stages. For the effective implementation of such strategies, an understanding of South Asian women’s access to and utilisation of services during pregnancy is needed. This study also extends a one year pilot study entitled Achieving equity in access to antenatal care: A pilot and development study to understand and overcome the barriers, funded by an NIHR programme development grant.

The GIFTS project focuses on women of South Asian origin living in Europe and within urban areas of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. There are 16 organisations involved in GIFTS from across Europe and South Asia.  For further details see


  • To determine predictors of early and enduring uptake of antenatal care in Newham (UK) by women of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage compared with other women
  • To explore the perspectives and experiences of South Asian women regarding the social, cultural, economic and service-related barriers and facilitators to accessing and engaging with antenatal care and other pregnancy-related services in an urban area in the UK (Newham)
  • To draw out principles on effectively promoting uptake of pregnancy-related services and interventions in urban areas of South Asia from existing qualitative and quantitative research
  • To make recommendations for the promotion of equitable access to pregnancy related interventions to improve birth outcomes relevant to metabolic diseases in urban areas of Europe and South Asia 


  • Analysis of routinely collected maternity data
  • Qualitative individual interviews and focus group discussions
  • Systematic review 
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Project Lead:

Professor Angela Harden

Project Team: Bethan Hatherall, Farah Jamal and Hena Wali Haque

Funder: European Commission, Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)

Project Partners: Barts Health NHS Trust, Queen Mary University of London

For more information, contact: Angela Harden

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