For Parents & Public

Find out about research in pregnancy - what is it and why is it important?

Consultant Obstetrician with EPRT and NHS Lothian, Dr Rosie Townsend, chats to Joanna about her recent experience taking part in pregnancy research with our team.

Research is a way of improving human knowledge about a topic, by going through a 'process' or series of steps to collect information and then analysing it. The process looks a bit like this:

  1. Ask a question;
  2. Collect data that might help find out the answer;
  3. Analyse the data to see if there is any evidence to answer the question.

Perinatal research means research around the time of pregnancy and birth.

There are many questions we have about pregnancy...

  • Why are some babies born early (prematurely) and can we stop this happening?
  • Why do some pregnant women get potentially dangerous medical conditions (like pre-eclampsia), and others not?
  • Would a new mental health support package help reduce depression after having a baby?
  • Does giving aromatherapy in labour help reduce pain and improve experiences for pregnant women?

The best way to answer questions like this is to test them carefully - to make sure we know the answer is reliable and that the research is safe for the people taking part. This is why research is done within a strict set of rules.

It is also why any study has to have ethical approval, which is when a committee of independent researchers checks it to make sure no-one could be harmed by taking part.

For more information, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions:


We provide service users with timely and user-friendly information about the research we are doing. Check out our social media feeds, and catch up on our latest news.

Latest News & Events

If you are interested in taking part in research during your pregnancy, please have a take at the studies we are currently recruiting for.

Current Studies

Alternatively, you can contact our team directly with a general enquiry.

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