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Ania Couchinho

Host university: Newcastle University

PhD research project: Using Intersectionality and Behaviour Change to Enhance Maternity Care for Black women in the UK

Project summary: Black women in the UK have a maternal mortality risk rate that is 3.7 times higher than that of white women (Knight et al., 2022). Statistics recorded in the UK from 2016 to 2018 found that 34 out of every 100,000 Black women died giving birth, compared to 8 out of 100,000 white women (Knight et al., 2022). This PhD is about finding which aspects of maternity care in the UK can be enhanced within the care of Black women specifically to meet their culturally appropriate care needs.

This PhD aims to use intersectionality theory to inform recommendations for behaviour change interventions to enhance maternity care for Black women.  Intersectionality theory is typically used to describe the power and identity dynamics which impact the lives of marginalised people. This project will use this theory to explain the dynamics or intersections which form the culturally appropriate behaviours within Black women’s maternity care.

This project ultimately aims to benefit Black women, by producing recommendations for behaviour change within their care. However, this project also will benefit midwives who closely work with Black women so that they are able to provide culturally appropriate and safe care which is specific for Black women.

My background and research interests: I have completed a BA in History and Politics and an MA in Global Political Economy. I am particularly interested in de-colonialism and addressing the effects of post colonialism. This includes the reproduction of racism, social exclusion from essential services and the commoditisation of marginalised and racialised people.

Expected PhD completion date: January 2024