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 second year on the Healthy Pregnancy project was to develop opportunities for women to obtain better social support during pregnancy. This led to the development of Woven-stories.com, the concept of a website that enables women to record their pregnancy to feel more in charge but also to find other women going through a similar situation.
This two-year project commissioned by Clearblue was carried out at the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design in London.
A key focus for this design research was the first trimester of pregnancy (the first three months), a period during which women are typically discouraged from telling people about their pregnancy due to the high risk of miscarriage. This can pose a personal conflict for many women – whilst their whole life is about to radically change, they are unable to communicate with their social circle.
Whilst online social support tools exist, many women are dissatisfied with them. Not everyone feels comfortable online especially when dealing with personal challenges such as pregnancy acceptance or negative emotions. It is also often difficult to find someone to relate to specifically, as a wide variety of conditions exist.
A website concept called woven-stories.com has been developed that will support Clearblue’s medical products. It is designed to facilitate the sharing of emotional, social and physical experiences of pregnancy among women. It enables them to record their experiences and weaves them together to form a repository of thoughts, questions, answers and ideas. Women use it through interfaces such as timelines and research systems that are inclusive of a wide variety of situations, and accessible to different profiles of online users.
This web tool asks women to self-assess, enabling them to visualise their emotional and physical state within their journey through pregnancy. It allows them to express themselves without being judged, to get appropriate information and advice, and to find support from women going similar experiences. After birth, a woman can look back on her journey and use her knowledge to help others. The website has a human rather than technical emphasis, using scenarios to demonstrate the range of possibilities offered.
By addressing personal and emotional needs, Clearblue is positioned through the study to nuture a meaningful, trusting and ongoing conversation with expectant mothers, in addition to supplying medical devices.