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Exploring the potential for introducing home monitoring of blood pressure during pregnancy into maternity care: current views and experiences of staff-a qualitative study

Hinton, L., Hodgkinson, J. A., Tucker, K. L., Rozmovits, L., Chappell, L., Greenfield, S., McCourt, C. ORCID: 0000-0003-4765-5795, Sandall, J. and McManus, R. J. (2020). Exploring the potential for introducing home monitoring of blood pressure during pregnancy into maternity care: current views and experiences of staff-a qualitative study. BMJ Open, 10(12), e037874. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037874


Objective: One in 20 women are affected by pre-eclampsia, a major cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity, death and premature birth worldwide. Diagnosis is made from monitoring blood pressure (BP) and urine and symptoms at antenatal visits after 20 weeks of pregnancy. There are no randomised data from contemporary trials to guide the efficacy of self-monitoring of BP (SMBP) in pregnancy. We explored the perspectives of maternity staff to understand the context and health system challenges to introducing and implementing SMBP in maternity care, ahead of undertaking a trial.

Design: Exploratory study using a qualitative approach.

Setting: Eight hospitals, English National Health Service.

Participants: Obstetricians, community and hospital midwives, pharmacists, trainee doctors (n=147).

Methods: Semi-structured interviews with site research team members and clinicians, interviews and focus group discussions. Rapid content and thematic analysis undertaken.

Results: The main themes to emerge around SMBP include (1) different BP changes in pregnancy, (2) reliability and accuracy of BP monitoring, (3) anticipated impact of SMBP on women, (4) anticipated impact of SMBP on the antenatal care system, (5) caution, uncertainty and evidence, (6) concerns over action/inaction and patient safety.

Conclusions: The potential impact of SMBP on maternity services is profound although nuanced. While introducing SMBP does not reduce the responsibility clinicians have for women’s health, it may enhance the responsibilities and agency of pregnant women, and introduces a new set of relationships into maternity care. This is a new space for reconfiguration of roles, mutual expectations and the relationships between and responsibilities of healthcare providers and women.

Trial: registration number NCT03334149.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ. This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made.
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
Date available in CRO: 05 May 2021 10:06
Date deposited: 5 May 2021
Date of acceptance: 29 August 2020
Date of first online publication: 1 December 2020
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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