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.
Read some case studies from parents who have become involved in research with the NCT and find out how they've made a real difference to new parents across the UK.