Academic takes part in Royal Wellbeing of Women conversation

Mon 24 May, 2021
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A leading maternity researcher from the University of Bedfordshire has taken part in a video call to welcome Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex as the new Patron of women’s health charity, Wellbeing of Women.

Dr Shuby Puthussery, Director of the University’s Maternal and Child Health Research Centre, is leading a project funded by Wellbeing of Women that aims to improve access to antenatal care for women from ethnically diverse and socially deprived communities in Luton.

To mark the new patronage of The Countess of Wessex, Dr Puthussery was invited to join Her Royal Highness in a virtual conversation to speak about her work which aims to ensure women from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds, as well as those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, are accessing the antenatal care they need.

Dr PuthusseryDiscussing the project with The Countess, Dr Puthussery said:

“Failure to start antenatal care early on in pregnancy is one of the reasons that has been indicated for excess maternal deaths and ill health among mothers from black and minority backgrounds, so our project is focused on mothers in an ethnically diverse, socially disadvantaged area.

“We're going to be working with mothers, fathers, midwives and doctors. And we will jointly produce a tailored community-based programme to help women to access antenatal care.”

Since 1964, Wellbeing of Women has invested more than £65 million in the highest-quality research across all areas of women’s reproductive health: fertility, pregnancy and birth complications, gynaecological cancers and menstrual and wellbeing issues.

The Countess of WessexAs Patron, The Countess of Wessex will help to amplify the charity’s life-saving research. She said:

“We all talk about having babies, but nobody talks about their periods. Nobody talks about the menopause. Why not? It's something that's incredibly normal, but it's something that is very hidden. And I think it's time to say enough, we need to bring this out on onto the table and say let's talk about this.”

“I’m delighted to take on this role. I have a vested interest in it. Not a woman on the planet can say they haven’t had to access support. We’ve all been there, and it’s about time we really had a grown-up conversation about it.”

Janet Lindsay, director at Wellbeing of Women, added: “Wellbeing of Women is delighted to welcome The Countess of Wessex as its Royal Patron.

“The Countess will be an inspiring voice behind our mission, led by women’s voices, to improve health and wellbeing through much needed research, education and advocacy.”

Also in the conversation was Professor Dame Lesley Regan of Imperial College Healthcare, Wellbeing of Women Clinical Research Fellow Dr Varsha Jain and Sarah Jane Cole, founder of a menopause support group.

A clip of Dr Puthussery’s conversation with the Countess of Wessex can be viewed online by clicking here.

For information about research opportunities within the Maternal and Child Health Research Centre at the University of Bedfordshire, visit:


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