Dr Emily O’Connor is pursuing a PhD in the area of perinatal medicine with INFANT and NPEC at UCC. Her background includes previous work as a Specialist Registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology with the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland (RCPI).  

Emily is extremely passionate about improving our maternity and perinatal services as well as improving the experience of parents who use those services.  

Emily’s planned thesis is titled: Structured Evaluation and Implementation of a National Perinatal Mortality Review Tool for Ireland.  Her research is funded by Féileacáin, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland.  

Perinatal deaths encompass babies who die before they are born (stillbirth), during labour or delivery (intrapartum death) or after birth (neonatal death). The Irish perinatal mortality rate has remained stable over the last ten years but has not decreased over this period.  

Emily’s work aims to standardise the way reviews of perinatal deaths occur by developing and implementing a national perinatal mortality audit tool for all perinatal deaths occurring in every maternity unit across Ireland.   

A major focus of this work is the involvement of bereaved parents in the review process. The aim of this research is to offer a more inclusive, transparent process for parents who have experienced the loss of their baby.  

Emily is conducting this research with the Pregnancy Loss Research Group based at INFANT and the NPEC. Her supervisors are Professor Keelin O’Donoghue (INFANT), Professor Richard Greene (NPEC) and Dr Sara Leitao (NPEC).