2021 award

The winner of the inaugural Heather Trickey Essay Prize

Natalie Davies, Integrating alcohol harm reduction with family planning: a woman-centred alternative to the ‘abstinence-only’ approach for women trying to conceive

We chose Natalie’s essay, which explored the problems of public health advice around alcohol for women trying to conceive and proposed a potential solution for risk-reduction, as we felt it absolutely articulated the key themes of the Heather Trickey essay prize. Women seeking to conceive are a group who are increasingly expected to behave as if pregnant, and yet the burden – particularly for those who may take longer than anticipated to become pregnant – is rarely recognised. We felt this was an area in need of further investigation, particularly as the idea of pre-conception care becomes more embedded, and will seek to support Natalie to take her ideas forward.

Highly commended

Alongside Natalie’s essay, we are also publishing six highly commended submissions which spoke to the criteria of a contested or underexplored area, sought to surface and explain women’s voices and experiences, and suggested fresh approaches. Areas covered included contraception, miscarriage, endometriosis and infant feeding – we know Heather would have been thrilled at the spread of reproductive issues represented, and the authors’ demonstrable commitment to improving experiences and outcomes for women.

Laura Ruane, Claudia and Me: an endo story

Jessica Cohen-Murray, Why the UK needs a new National Milk

Dr Andrea Ford, Endometriosis, period health, and valuing women’s experience

Bakita Kasadha, Dr Shema Tariq, Dr Farai Nyatsanza, Dr Nell Freeman-Romilly, Angelina Namiba and Tanvi Rai PhD, Who knows ‘best’ when it comes to breast?

Richard Ma, Why current sexual and reproductive health research, policy and practice are failing women – and what we can do about it

Aimee Middlemiss and Susie Kilshaw, Sharing the burden of miscarriage knowledge