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Breaking Down Research Into Lay Terms



This was one of my midwifery school assignments for our Research Methods class. The assignment was to closely examine a research study and break it down into lay terms. I chose Prediction of uncomplicated pregnancies in obese women: a prospective multicentre study and here it is in hopefully a more readable format:

My Evaluation of a UK Study Used to Predict Complications in Obese Women

As women all over the world are experiencing an increase in obesity, so are expectant mothers. One in four women of reproductive age in the UK are classified as obese, costing the medical system in the UK an estimated 37% more per pregnancy than moms of an normal BMI (Body Mass Index). This is because all obese pregnant women are believed to be at high risk to experience complications over the course of their pregnancies and births. Generally speaking, these women are often attended to through a team of specialists that work together to provide her with highly monitored care. It is now coming to light that these women may be over-managed and, at least some of them, could benefit from a more hands-off approach. The purpose of the study outlined below was to discover which previously perceived risk factors could present in an obese woman and still lead to an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth and how successful were these risk factors at predicting the actual outcome. The purpose of this study was to seek a normal outcome rather than an adverse effect.


From March 2009 to June 2014, researchers examined information collected from 1409 obese women, sixteen years or older, that were pregnant with one child that participated in the UPBEAT trial (stands for UK Pregnancies Better Eating and Activity Trial). The UPBEAT trial was a randomized controlled trial, in other words, some women received diet and physical activity advice while others didn't, and those who didn't receive the advice served as a comparison, or control group. However, researchers were missing blood samples for 27% of the control group. For the purpose of this particular trial, the term obese was in reference to pregnant women weighing 36.4 kilograms more than is considered normal for their height, give or take approximately 5 kilograms. This study did not include mothers that were:

  • expecting multiples;

  • currently using metformin (a diabetes drug); or

  • had underlying health problems from before they became pregnant (including high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, lupus, various blood disorders, celiac disease, thyroid disease or psychosis).

Various aspects associated with an uncomplicated pregnancy were looked at after the fact to pinpoint how sociodemographic factors (like age, sex, education level, income level, marital status, occupation, religion and ethnicity), whether the mom currently smoked, had previously experienced miscarriage, preeclampsia or gestational diabetes and how many children she