Pregnancy, Plans and Socioeconomics

I have partnered with Anna Krachey – with whom I did the AC4D startup challenge – for the original research which will influence the rest of our work during the remaining quarters in our program. We’re looking at understanding pregnancy and birth plan choices, and how they are effected by socioeconomic standing.

(A Short Interruption to your regularly scheduled blogging: If you know a pregnant woman, an OBGYN/Nurse, Midwife/Doula, social worker or researcher involved in pregnancy, birth or childrens health – would you get in touch with me? james.lewis@ac4d.com )

What does the journey from pre-pregnancy to getting pregnant, making plans and critical health decisions, all the way to birth and the postpartum period look like for women and their partners? Why does one woman schedule a C-section with an OBGYN and another plan a homebirth with a midwife? Does a woman’s socioeconomic standing, her education and cultural background influence the decisions she makes (or has made for her)?

We started off by creating a timeline from pre-conception to postpartum (the period shortly after birth). We’ve identified a few potential stages to apply a kind of framework to the timeline. It starts from thinking and trying (or not) to get pregnant, to finding out your pregnant. It then moves into a phase we call “hard conversations and decisions” – that time where women and couples have to decide if they want to continue the pregnancy and keep the child after birth, or if they want to explore other options like adoption or abortion. For women and couples who actively wanted children, the pregnancy might force a multitude of decisions; everything from how to find a doctor they like and what kind of birth they want, to future parenting styles, dealing with insurance coverage (or lack there of) to decisions around finances / careers, living situations, etc..

It’s a lot to think about! We hope by starting off with this flexible timeline, it will help us understand the periods of emotions and decisions a pregnant woman and her partner might face. It’s also a great way to track the different people she might come into contact with during her pregnancy. We’ll be using this to help us brainstorm with the recruiting process.

We have our first contextual inquiry with a pregnant woman at her home scheduled for Wednesday, and I can’t be more excited. I have no idea what kind of product, service or system Anna and I might come up with at the end of this 24 week process, but I think that’s the fun of it. While the amount of work and research we have to do is daunting, I’m feeling optimistic and glad to research a topic which literally everyone in the world has been involved with in one way or another (except all you cyborgs out there – you know who you are.)