Local hospitals appoint first-ever Research Midwife

At the end of 2021, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) appointed its first ever Research Midwife.

Kerry Dooley, who initially joined the Trust in 2013, has worked across all areas of the Maternity Department between the Trust’s Doncaster and Bassetlaw sites in her almost decade with DBTH.

The University of York graduate, who is also the Clinical Lead for new study ‘Born and Bred in Doncaster’ (known in the shortened form of ‘BaBi-D’), is passionate about increasing the research portfolio across the Children and Families directorate within the hospitals.

Kerry said: “Ultimately by doing this role I would like to help improve the care women and their families receive locally and nationally through research.”

Kerry wasted no time getting stuck in and alongside leading Babi-D she is supporting studies exploring hypertension in pregnancy, fertility and the care given to women with rheumatoid diseases whilst pregnant.

It is vital to have speciality nurses and midwives who raise the profile of research and increase research engagement, Kerry explained.

She said: “Evidence shows that hospitals active in clinical research have better patient care outcomes not only for patients involved in trials but also by driving improvement across our services.”

For Kerry, one of the main draws to the role as Research Midwife was the opportunity to get involved with Babi-D, one branch of a larger national cohort study.

Inspired by ‘Born in Bradford’, a study that initially tracked the health and wellbeing of over 13,500 children and their parents for nearly four years, BaBi-D focuses primarily on the data collection of pregnant women in Doncaster.

The aim is to use and analyse this data to better understand the health of our local population with long-term benefits such as improved and tailored health services and a reduction in health inequalities.

Kerry said: “Studying babies from before birth is a really powerful way of understanding the many influences that shape our life.”

Some of the key findings, and outcomes, for the Born in Bradford study included:

  • Childhood obesity could be reduced by intervention with pregnant mums in the first 1001 days of life.
  • Up to 40% of childhood obesity could be explained by being overweight or obese in pregnancy.
  • Greater availability of green spaces is associated with healthier birth weight amongst babies.
  • Green spaces also reduced the risk of depression in pregnancy and improved the mental wellbeing amongst young children.
  • Data from the study encouraged Bradford council to reroute buses to improve childhood asthma.

For upcoming information on this study, follow this link: https://www.dbth.nhs.uk/research-and-development/babi-d/