Professor Judith Stephenson
Research Group Lead
We believe that all women around the world have the right to enjoy healthy sexual relationships and to choose whether and when to have children.
We aim to help women on their journey through the sexual and reproductive lifecourse, from adolescence until the end of their child-bearing years. We do research to support choice of contraception, understand pregnancy planning and improve preconception care.
We aim to improve sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care through research, training, service enhancement and empowerment through knowledge transfer.
We achieve this by:
- Conducting multidisciplinary research to impact clinical practice and public health policy
- Applying research evidence to influence policy makers in SRH
- Increasing research capacity through academic support and training in SRH skills
Patient and public engagement, a drive to realise sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality are themes that underpin all our research. We conduct research both within the UK and globally.
Our current research portfolio falls under the following themes:
Nearly half of pregnancies in the UK are unplanned. Our work aims to support women and their partners to make informed decisions about if, when and how many children to have. We do this by working on new improved ways to measure pregnancy planning, and we are working with UCLH to identify and support women with current unplanned pregnancies.
The importance of contraception knowledge, access and availability is vital for reproductive health. Our research aims to understand and optimise effective use of contraceptive methods, particularly in populations at greatest risk of unintended pregnancy. Our partner reproductive health clinic, Margaret Pyke Centre supports our research in contraception and sexual reproductive health. Most recently we have worked on long-acting-reversible contraception methods.
Good maternal and paternal health before conception is increasingly recognised as important for the health of pregnant women and future generations. We are working in a number of areas of preconception care, from exploring levels and sources of knowledge and information of pre-pregnancy care to practises and beliefs prior to conception.
In a concept paper that formed the cornerstone of the RCOG’s report on the future of women’s health care (High Quality Women’s Healthcare RCOG 2011), we considered the rationale for a life course approach to women’s health care and the implications for health service delivery.
As part of the Reproductive Health group’s expanding international work, we have a programme of research aimed at identifying ways to reduce poor maternal and neonatal outcomes in low-resource settings.