Creating and sharing evidence is a key part of how we support parents in their First 1,000 Days, through pregnancy, birth and the early days of becoming a parent.

Parent studying with a baby

Our Knowledge Team carries out a range of service evaluations, evidence reviews, and parent insight and service development projects. We also collaborate with universities and other partners on high quality research which aim to:

  • add to the information and support available to parents on pregnancy, birth and parenthood
  • improve parents’ experiences of maternity and postnatal service provision
  • improve health outcomes for parents and babies

We are involved in an active programme of research focused on achieving positive impact for parents as they journey through the First 1,000 Days.

We work collaboratively with external research teams to support research which we know matters to new parents and which we think offers the potential for positive impact - whether through our own services and support, or community and health services. We also lead on pieces of research considered of strategic importance to NCT.

We work with research teams to ensure parents are well represented at every stage of the research process. This is sometimes called ‘user involvement’, or ‘Patient and Public Involvement’ (PPI) in research. We help with:

  • identifying the issues which matter to parents
  • helping design acceptable research tools and interventions
  • supporting recruitment to studies. 

We also recruit and support parents to work effectively as service user representatives within a research context. We make research accessible to difference audiences and support the use of evidence to drive improvements for parents.

Please do get in touch with the Knowledge Team at if you have any questions or would like to get involved! 

Parent involvement in research

We think it’s really important that parents are involved in research about pregnancy, birth and postnatal issues – and as partners, not just participants.

Parent involvement (user involvement) helps ensure that researchers are looking for solutions to real-life questions and problems; that the project is respectful to parents and babies who take part in the research, and that the results are shared in a way that is readable and accessible. Many parents have also found it to be a really enjoyable way of learning about research.

Parents have contributed to research in a variety of ways, such as:

  • Serving as a user representative on a research project
  • Joining a local clinical trials network and feeding into the research team’s programme of work
  • Commenting on research proposals
  • Helping write plain English summaries

INVOLVE is part of the National Institute for Health Research, set up to support active public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research, and has lots of guidance and information available for people who want to get involved.

The Cochrane Collaboration produces systematic reviews of evidence and is always looking for patients, carers, family members and others who are interested in high-quality evidence, and helping to be a part of producing it. There is a Pregnancy and Childbirth Group within Cochrane; once you have signed up to the network you will be asked about any specific areas of interest.

Case studies