Vaginal birth core information set: study protocol for a Delphi study to achieve a consensus on a ‘core information set’ for vaginal birth

Andrew Demetri, Anna Davies, Danya Bakhbakhi, Sharea Ijaz, Sarah Dawson, Sheelagh McGuinness, Gemma Beasor, Gemma Clayton, Abigail Johnson, Chloë de Souza, Aine Dempsey, Gabriella Snook, Andrew Sharp, David Lissauer, Emma McGoldrick, Christy Burden, Abi Merriel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


INTRODUCTION: Studies have shown that women are often underinformed about potential benefits and risks of vaginal birth. This is in contrast to other modes of birth, such as caesarean birth, for which the risks/benefits are often conveyed prior to undergoing the procedure. A core information set (CIS) is an agreed set of information points that should be discussed with all patients prior to undergoing a procedure or intervention. This CIS could improve the quality of information given regarding mode of birth options, as women will be given information prioritised by patients and stakeholders regarding vaginal birth, empowering them to make informed decisions about their birth. We aim to describe the protocol for the development of this vaginal birth CIS.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will develop the CIS by: (1) Compiling a 'long-list' of information points about vaginal birth by: undertaking a scoping review of studies and patient information leaflets; interviews with antenatal/postnatal women, an online survey of stakeholders. (2) Collating the 'long-list' of information points and developing the Delphi survey. Think-aloud interviews will refine the survey. (3) Conducting a two-round Delphi survey. 200 stakeholder participants will be recruited. Items rated critically important by ≥80% of participants in one stakeholder group, or with no consensus, will be carried through to a stakeholder consensus meeting to decide the final CIS. Planned start date is 1 June 2022. Planned end date is 31 August 2023.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This project has been given a favourable ethics opinion by the University of Bristol Research Ethics Committee (Ref: 10530). Approval from the ethics committee will be sought for any protocol amendments, and the principal investigator will be responsible for these changes. Findings will be presented at relevant conferences and published in a high-impact journal. We will disseminate the CIS, via Policy Bristol, to clinical policy and guideline developers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere070215
Pages (from-to)e070215
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the Research England Policy Support Fund (PSF) for funding this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2023. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.


  • Humans
  • Female
  • Pregnancy
  • Research Design
  • Delphi Technique
  • Parturition
  • Consensus
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Review Literature as Topic


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