A midwife and health psychologist from Coventry University are helping hundreds of expectant mothers by increasing awareness of a little-known condition, called hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS).
hEDs can cause anything from joint dislocations and fragile skin, to extreme fatigue and depression, yet in pregnancy and childbirth, complications can be disabling or even life-threatening. Nevertheless, as its effects during pregnancy have been hugely under-researched, some midwives and doctors remain unaware of the condition or of how to deliver effective maternity care in this context.
Dr Sally Pezaro and Dr Gemma Pearce from Coventry University, along with Dr Emma Reinhold, are turning things around, publishing the first openly accessible paper on the condition aimed at medical professionals and mothers. They have also led targeted sessions for trainee midwives to ensure the condition is being looked out for during routine care appointments.
The team’s work has increased the number of pregnant women being diagnosed with hEDS and is helping to make sure as many women as possible have access to the information needed to make evidence-based decisions during their pregnancies.