Q&A with Jessica Liauw


Jessica Liauw is a fellow in the Clinician Investigator Program at UBC, and an Obstetrician and Maternal Medicine specialist. Her clinical practice is focused on high-risk pregnancy, and her research interests are preterm birth, fetal growth, and clinical decision making.

She is currently working the #NavigatingTheGreyZone project, which aims to find ways to help pregnant women decide if they should take steroids to help their babies’ lungs when faced with the possibility of an early delivery.

Keep reading to learn more about Jessica and her work!

  1. Briefly, can you describe your research project?

We are trying to find out what pregnant women and clinicians want to know when deciding whether or not antenatal corticosteroid medication should be used if she is at risk for delivering 4 to 6 weeks preterm. Our overall goal is to create a decision aid to help patients and clinicians make this treatment decision. In Phase 1 of the study, we will interview pregnant women, obstetricians, and pediatricians, to find out what to include in the decision aid. In Phase 2 of the study, we will draft the decision aid, and then ask pregnant women and clinicians to provide feedback on it.

  1. What inspired this research?

Along with some members of the research team, I helped to update a recent clinical practice guideline on the topic of antenatal corticosteroids for preterm birth. From this experience, I became fascinated by the “grey zones” and controversies surrounding this treatment decision, especially for women who are at risk for delivering from 34 to 36 weeks of gestation. I realized that we need to find a way to help pregnant women and clinicians navigate the risks and benefits of this treatment to help patients make the decision that is right for them.

  1. What impact do you hope this research will have on women’s health?

We hope this research will help us understand what pregnant women and their doctors need to help them improve decision making. Research in women’s health is always expanding, which is exciting but can also be overwhelming when trying to make the best decisions at the bedside. From this research, we hope to create an effective decision making tool that patients and clinicians can use together.

  1. Anything else we should know?

We are looking for pregnant women, obstetricians, and pediatricians to interview for Phase 1 of this study. We need your opinions on what to include in a decision aid about antenatal corticosteroids after 34 weeks’ gestation – we just need 15 minutes of your time. If you are interested in participating please email us at decisionaid@cw.bc.ca. Thank you!