Healthy Pregnancy Research

Medical care during pregnancy focuses mainly on the health of the foetus and neglects the broader wellbeing of the mother-to-be. The aim of this first year on the Healthy Pregnancy project was to give an overview and understanding of pregnancy from the woman’s point of view and identify design opportunities. A study was conducted with 14 women using empathic research methods. This led to the development of 6 profiles of pregnant women and into an Insight Bank summarizing the research.

This two-year project commissioned by Clearblue was carried out at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design in London.


Context of the project

During pregnancy, women can experience huge disruptions to their lives that are not only physical and medical, but also social and emotional. Although pregnancy is a complex condition, the care that pregnant women currently receive is usually focused on the physical health of the foetus and mother-to-be and takes little account of her broader wellbeing.

Clearblue, maker of home pregnancy test kits, currently interacts with women for one minute. This project looks at how Clearblue could extend that relationship by investigating how expectant mothers can be supported in a more holistic way throughout their pregnancy.

Design Research Methods

Three different research methods were used with 14 women to capture their daily life, concerns and emotions during pregnancy:

 -The women who were currently pregnant were asked to fill in a one-week pregnancy diary to map their daily moods and concerns.
 -The women who had given birth in the past two years participated in a two-hour session where they were asked to map their emotional experience over the nine months and focus on the important moments of the pregnancy.
 -The women who were pregnant a long time ago were asked to fill in the lines of a drawing of a pregnant woman by writing about their personal experiences. Only the most memorable experiences – good or bad – were captured.

The result: Pregnant Women Profiles and Insight Bank
The research resulted in the creative development of six different profiles of pregnant women defined by the way they manage their pregnancy – whether self-reliant, dependent on friends and family or on the medical experts.

In Control is a woman who wants to be in control of the details, is self-reliant and does not take what the doctors say for granted;Early Anxious is a woman in the early stages of pregnancy but going through an anxious rather than a positive experience; Family Focused – strong connections to friends and family and draws support from those around her; Emotionally Challenged – this is a medically sound pregnancy but the woman experiences mental and emotional challenges; Confident & Carefree – a woman who just listens to the doctors and is confident that they will look after her; and High Risk – a pregnancy with medical complications where the woman has to rely heavily on her doctors and nurses.

Different insights associated with each persona have been summarized in a website for Clearblue’s internal use to inspire ideas, share the research and help to create a more holistic and healthy view of pregnancy.

More on the project on the Helen Hamlyn Centre For Design website.