Govan's expectant mothers feel under-supported in the early stages of pregnancy, a new study has revealed.

The report, Understanding Early Pregnancy Support in Govan, was prepared by Together for Childhood Govan and published on the NSPCC Learning website.

It aims to shed light on women’s experiences during early pregnancy.

The research involved interviews with 13 new and expectant parents including individuals from diverse backgrounds in terms of age, immigration status, and ethnicity.

It found that while there is a strong policy framework from the Scottish Government for supporting expectant parents, there is a gap between these policies and the parents' actual experiences.

Services like translation, for instance, were not always accessible until later stages of pregnancy or at birth.

One participant revealed: “Anything over and above [the 12-week check-up], I wasn’t made aware of; from any professional or any organisation.”

Another said further support that would have been impactful included access to antenatal classes.

The study also highlighted that anxieties experienced by parents in the early days of pregnancy can impact how prepared and supported they feel for the rest of their pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.

Lorna Ruxton, a Govan resident and study participant, suffered an early pregnancy loss before two successful pregnancies.

For her third pregnancy, she said she was told to book a 12-week scan with a midwife.

This meant that she did not see a health professional until then.

She said: “I think there can be a fear that you are not really pregnant. It’s a long time to not know for sure. And because of superstition, we don’t always talk to friends and family until after the 12-week stage.

“Earlier appointments would be ideal. That official confirmation makes a big difference. It would also give you a chance to ask what to expect and what pregnancy care looks like. With my first child I didn’t really have a clue what was going to happen.”

Prajapa Seneviratne, lead researcher on the project, said: “There is a lot to celebrate in Scotland when it comes to care for new parents, but many in this research told us some of that support doesn’t start until well into pregnancy or after the baby is born.

“The early weeks and months of pregnancy is a pivotal time for expectant parents as they are likely to have more questions. They told us they had fears around giving birth, being able to afford a new baby, not having family close at hand, and being newly arrived in Scotland.

“Most importantly, the research shows us how unique and diverse parents’ experiences of pregnancy are, and the value of listening to the voices and experiences of expectant parents to shape the way we support them to suit their needs.”