The Normal birth research conference is an annual, international event that takes place to focus on less complicated aspects of pregnancy and birth. This year it took place in the beautiful surroundings of Grange-over-sands overlooking Morecambe bay and on the edge of the Lake District. On this occasion there were delegates from over 20 countries including Canada, USA, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and India! The attendees included midwives, obstetricians, birth supporters, architects, artists, geographers and educators as well as representatives of the World Health organisation, charities and Baroness Cumberlege from the UK House of Lords.
Sara Stride, Jenny Hall, and Jane Fry at the conference
Research at Bournemouth University was well represented from CMMPH, CQR and CEL. Midwifery lecturer, Sara stride, on behalf of the research team of Professor Vanora Hundley and Dr Sue Way, presented a poster of their work, ‘a qualitative study to explore UK midwives’ individual practice, beliefs and attitudes regarding perineal care at the time of birth’. Dr Jane Fry, also from the midwifery team, presented a research topic on her Doctoral work, ‘ A descriptive phenomenological study of independent midwives’ use of intuition as an authoritative form of knowledge during women’s labours and births’. She also facilitated a workshop titled ‘ Finding your own intuition: a workshop designed to explore practitioners’ ways of knowing during childbirth’ .
Dr Jenny Hall presented a research topic based on recent research with Dr Bethan Collins from Liverpool University, Professor Vanora Hundley and Jilly Ireland, midwife and visiting researcher, ‘How can we improve the ‘normal’ childbirth experience of disabled women?’. She also facilitated a workshop with a colleague from RGU, Aberdeen, Professor Susan Crowther, ‘Spirituality and childbirth: bringing a felt-sense into childbirth- a co-operative inquiry’. In addition, her new internationally authored book jointly edited with Professor Crowther, ‘Spirituality and Childbirth: Meaning and care at the start of life’, was officially launched at the conference.
Jenny Hall with Professor Susan Crowther at the book launch [(c) Sheena Byrom]
The impression taken away was the passion and importance of more evidence required around more ‘normal’ aspects of pregnancy and birth, especially in countries with less resources. There is considerable humanising of care being carried out internationally, and is a key focus at the World health organisation. A focus for the UK midwifery is current maternity services transformation, yet much of the global focus is on the importance of transformation in line with the recent Lancet series on maternity, and international collaboration to achieve the goals for Sustainable development. As a force, the team behind normal birth research serve this area powerfully, in informing care for women, babies and families across the global arena. The final rousing talk by Australian professor Hannah Dahlen, to the current backlash to ‘normal birth’ in the media was inspiring and is an editorial in the international journal Women and Birth. Next year the conference is in Michigan, USA!
On 26th September the branch of the RCM in Southampton held a study day dedicated to considering human rights concerns in maternity care. It was attended by over 50 practitioners from across the region. Topics covered included a workshop by the human rights in maternity charity, Birthrights, and speakers from Barnados and Stop the Traffik. These latter presenters provided thought provoking, and somewhat harrowing, evidence for the need for awareness of sexual exploitation in young people, and trafficking of humans in our areas of practice. In addition Dr Jenny Hall (pictured right) from CEL and Jillian Ireland, visiting researcher in CMMPH, discussed the human rights of women with disability, based on current research partially funded by Birthrights, undertaken with colleagues Professor Vanora Hundley and Dr Bethan Collins from Liverpool University.
It was an intense event that demonstrated the importance of discussing and researching these aspects of current midwifery care.
Last week Senior Midwifery lecturer Dr Luisa Cescutti-Butler, member of CMMPH, had the opportunity to attend and present at the prestigious international 3 day conference organised by MAINN @ UCLAN. Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood: Bio-Cultural Perspectives. It took place in the beautiful surrounds of Grange-Over-Sands in Cumbria. It was attended by speakers and researchers from India, Australia, Sweden, South Africa, USA, Canada as well as the UK and therefore an ideal networking opportunity. The title of Luisa’s presentation was “Is it 2 breastfeeds and then a bottle, or is it one breastfeed and a bottle? Not sure”?, based on her PhD study, supervised by Professor Ann Hemingway, Dr. Jaqui Hewitt-Taylor. The paper reported on women’s experiences of feeding their late preterm baby/babies (LPBs), born between 340/7 and 36 6/7 weeks gestation, especially pertinent as the rates for these births is rising. A feminist approach to the study had been utilised using in depth two phase qualitative interviews.
Luisa says of the conference: ‘ I got to meet researchers that I have used widely within my PhD such as Renee Flacking from Sweden who has undertaken research around preterm babies, Virginia Schmied internationally renowned midwifery professor and Professor Paula Meier who has extensively researched late preterm babies and breastfeeding. She came and listened to my presentation and enjoyed it. Thought my findings were very interesting but was a little dismayed that practice had not moved forward. It was also a good opportunity to meet up with twitter buddies such as Laura Godfrey-Isaacs @godfrey_issacs, who took the photos!’
Luisa may be contacted further about her study but the findings indicate that women caring for LPBs frequently encountered contradictory advice regarding infant feeding and often felt their own experiences, intuition and instincts were devalued. The research concludes that the practice of feeding of LPBs should be revisited in partnership with women, so their experiences and perspectives can be utilised to develop satisfying nurturing relationships whilst also meeting nutritional requirements and that breastfeeding is a feminist, human rights issue. The full abstract is published in the conference proceedings.
At the Royal College of Midwives conference in Harrogate over the 19th and 20th October a strange ‘art’ installation appeared formed of, in the region of, 500 knit and crochet midwives. The purpose of the display was to highlight the current shortage of midwives throughout the UK and started as a light hearted conversation on twitter between Dr Jenny Hall from the midwifery team in Bournemouth University and midwifery lecturer Lindsay Hobbs in the University of Bradford. (More information is here https://knittedmidwife.wordpress.com/)
When the conversation took place the statistics showing the number of midwives required was 2600 (by the time the project had commenced it had risen to 3500). To highlight the situation, the @knittedmidwife was born, encouraging midwives and others to ‘knit a midwife’ to solve the problem in time for the RCM conference. Instructions for a simple pattern were placed on a blog and participants were encouraged to create their own clothes. The campaign caused some amusement and inspiration with non-knitters persuading friends and family to knit one for them. Some midwife teams had ‘knit-evenings’. They arrived in batches from as far afield as Texas and Germany. The display at the conference was well received but the knowledge that the number presented was only 500 of the 3500 missing midwives gave impact. A final twist was that each was sold in aid of the RCM benevolent fund; midwives being sold to aid other midwives.
As an adjunct to the project the ‘knitters’ were asked to send with their midwife a message as to why they had done so. At the conference itself questionnaires were also present to inquire about the impact of the display. This ‘knitted midwife’ project will therefore live on as the lecturers mentioned will now be evaluating the messages and questionnaires.
And here is the mini-me midwfery lecturer, complete with pinards stethescope and tablet computer….. More will follow as the project develops.
Birthrights, a national charity for the rights of women during pregnancy and childbirth has today launched the interim report of a study undertaken by staff from Bournemouth University and the University of Liverpool, about the experiences of disabled women during pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting.
The current work arises following their 2013 Dignity in Childbirth survey which highlighted less positive experiences of women who identified themselves as disabled (Birthrights 2013). In response, Birthrights commissioned research to explore the experiences of disabled women throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the first few post-natal weeks (the pregnancy continuum). A multidisciplinary team, comprising of Dr Jenny Hall, Jilly Ireland and Professor Vanora Hundley from CMMPH and Dr Bethan Collins from the University of Liverpool, have just completed the first phase of the study, which has been released by Birthrights as an interim report today. This first phase of the study used an online survey to identify experiences of women in the UK and Ireland with physical or sensory impairment or long term health conditions during the pregnancy continuum.
Although overall satisfaction with services in general was scored highly by most women, challenges were described in women’s experiences. These included lack of continuity of carer, meaning that women needed to repeat their information again and again; women feeling that they were not being listened to, which reduced their feeling of choice and control; feeling they were treated less favourably because of their disability. More than half of the women (56%) felt that maternity care providers did not have appropriate attitudes to disability. Accessibility of services was also highlighted as poor, in some situations.
These findings resonate with recommendations from the recent maternity services review (National Maternity review 2016), which highlights the importance of personalised care, that is woman-centred, with opportunity for choice and control, and continuity of carer for everyone. The current study highlights how imperative this approach is for disabled women.
A follow-up qualitative study is underway to establish in-depth views and experiences of human rights and dignity of disabled women during the pregnancy continuum to develop our understanding of how best to enable this group. This second phase is due to be completed in Spring 2017.
The Interim report outlining the results from phase 1 is released today by Birthrights and may be found on the CMMPH web site.
As part of my EdD thesis on ‘The essence of the art of a midwife..’ http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/16560/ I created a reflexive textile quilt, with each of the squares representing an entry in my research diary. Whenever I have been to conferences with my quilt the question has always been asked ‘what do the squares mean’? Though I anticipate that anyone looking at it will gather their own interpretation of the squares my stories behind them are now accessible online. In the spring of this year I applied, and was pleased to receive, funding from the BU Undergraduate research assistantship scheme in order to create a web site for the quilt. For the past six weeks George Upson undergraduate student from the BA (Hons) Media Production course has been active in designing and creating the web site with me and learning about the world of academia in a small way. I am indebted to him for his creative abilities and to Garratt Lynch and Richard Wallis for their early support in the process, and also for the URA scheme!
The Midwifery quilt maybe accessed here http://www.midwiferyquilt.co.uk/
Dr Jenny Hall
Midwifery educators and researchers from CMMPH Dr Jen Leamon and Dr Jenny Hall, with help from Shelly Anne Stringer RDO, spent the day in an empty space engaging creatively with shoppers in the Sovereign Shopping centre in Boscombe. As part of BU Festival of Learning this is an ongoing project to consider the social history and contexts around people’s stories of birth. The childbirth process has in the last 60 years moved from being a private event shared by woman, their partner and the midwife to become a public one shared via many formats
The day was spent encouraging members of the local community to contribute to a visual timeline of personal experiences of receiving or providing midwifery care, over the last sixty years.
The aim had been to engage local people in order to interrogate the local history of birth in the area. However on the day we gathered a wealth of stories from mothers, partners, grandparents and children with tales from the 1960’s to the present day but with a very international flavour!
We are very grateful to all those who sat and took the time to share their personal stories and were willing to add to the timeline. The stories were both moving and unexpected- that’s how research goes sometimes! More will develop on this project over time. We are also grateful to the team at the Sovereign centre who were so accommodating.
Grange-over-Sands in Lancashire was once again a beautiful setting from 15th-17th June for one of the most inspirational midwifery research conferences. Attracting a significant international attendance from eminent researchers, clinicians and user representatives from as far afield as Australia, China, Canada, Brazil and across Europe (many regular attendees), the conference is now in its 10th year. Hosted by Professor Soo Downe and her team from UCLAN, it brings together researcher across all maternity professions, to present and debate work primarily relating to physiological birth. Two members of CMMPH were presenting (and tweeting!):
Professor Vanora Hundley discussed ‘Do midwives need to be more media savvy?’, a presentation created with Professor Edwin van Teijlingen and Ann Luce, based on a previous FoL public debate at BU relating to the role media plays in creating fear in childbirth https://research.bournemouth.ac.uk/engagement/fear-in-childbirth-are-the-media-responsible/ . She highlighted the need for midwives to be more aware of how to work with the media in order to harness the power to present positive messages, as well as understanding impact on women and health care providers. A paper on this presentation is accessible from: http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/21600/
Jenny Hall with Maltese midwives and other delegates
Dr Jenny Hall presented as part of a symposium with midwifery colleagues from Malta on an ongoing educational project relating to promotion of physiological birth in Malta. Malta has one of the highest Caesarean section rates in Europe and the team have been working together to develop midwives confidence in facilitating physiological birth as well as supporting them to educate women and families.
All delegates also received a copy of the book ‘Roar behind the silence: why kindness, compassion and respect matter in maternity care’, that includes chapters by two BU authors: Dr Jenny Hall and Consultant midwife, Katherine Gutteridge. ( see http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2015/02/28/stop-the-fear-and-embrace-birth/ for further information)
As usual the conference provided extensive opportunity for networking and developing links for future collaboration in a considerably relaxing environment.
A tweet storify and photographs of the whole conference are available which includes contribution from BU researchers:
Since being a lecturer I have been regularly contacted by editors and publishers who are keen to have my contribution to a journal or edited book. More recently this has become ‘open access’, which is especially significant for the future REF. On occasions these requests maybe genuine, but many are what I would call ‘predatory publishing’. This is to remind us all to err on the side of caution with some of these emails and be absolutely sure before you respond that they are bona fide publishers. It is easy to feel flattered by the attention! If it is for a journal that you have never heard of, for example, I would suggest contacting the library for information or ‘googling’ the title. Invariably you may then discover someone has already added this to a list of ‘predatory publishers’. Useful sources are Beall’s list http://scholarlyoa.com/2012/12/06/bealls-list-of-predatory-publishers-2013/ and also the Directory of Open Access journals https://doaj.org/ . However these may not be uptodate.
The publishers may be very clever and there have been stories of fake editorial boards, even fake editors, which may entice you. It is suggested that some are creating or buying fake impact factors. However the main goal is to get money off you or the organisation with either publication without the appropriate peer review or editorial control, or does not ever get published. This has been proved on occasion by authors sending in fake papers that are then published online without any editing. For example, https://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6154/60.summary
More recently I have been targeted with invitations to speak at seemingly prestigious international conferences. It is not until you read the small print that there is evidence this comes from the same publishers mentioned above. An example is here: http://scholarlyoa.com/2014/03/05/oxford-on-alert-predatory-conference-organisers-are-coming-to-town-or-oxford-beware-omics-predators-are-coming-to-town/ Once more the planning behind this is to get researchers to pay to present their research or even to pretend a conference is taking place when it does not exist or is cancelled.
This article will also help understand some of the tactics used. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4315198/
The message I hope to leave with you is don’t be flattered by the unsolicited messages you receive; don’t respond until you have checked out the source; do be careful. There are plenty of reputable journals and publishers you can contact yourself.
Thanks to Stacy Johnson @misssdjohnson on twitter
Mary Seacole was a Jamaican and Scottish nurse and business woman who is honoured for her work during the Crimean war. The NHS awards in her name provide nurses with the opportunity to develop a project to benefit and improve the health of people within BME communities.
On January 15th a day was held at the Royal College of Nursing in London for current and previous award holders to enable and encourage dissemination of their projects. As part of this event Dr Jenny Hall, Senior Midwifery Lecturer in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, provided a discussion around the perspective of being an editor and tips around writing for publication. She also talked to some participants about current dissemination projects on which they are working and gave some support and advice. It was a positive event to help facilitate dissemination of valuable projects and to link with midwives who are current award holders.
Further information on available Mary Seacole leadership awards is here: http://www.nhsemployers.org/EmploymentPolicyAndPractice/EqualityAndDiversity/Diversity_events_and_awards/Pages/MarySeacole.aspx
On 5th November Jenny Hall, Senior Midwifery Lecturer, presented at an event organised for the ‘Thinking Futures’ festival for the University of Bristol. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/fssl/festival/
The festival was an eleven day series of lectures to share and celebrate research from the Faculty of Social science and Law and had sponsorship from the ESRC Festival of social science. The sponsorship meant that it was open to the public and therefore anyone could turn up.
The day was called ‘Patchwork, quilting and keeping it all going’ and arranged by inspirational Management academic and quilt researcher Ann Rippin http://annjrippin.wordpress.com/ Ann placed in social and historical context the study of quilting and the history of quilters, identifying the lack of research around this significant social activity. Harriett Shortt from the business school at UWE Bristol shared how she had developed a quilt as a response to her PhD studies.
http://harrietshortt.wordpress.com/ Jenny also talked about the process of reflexivity in her EdD study around developing her quilt as well as the creation of ‘text quilts’. The audience included researchers as well as members of the public active in stitching. Overall it was a day that stimulated a lot of discussion around the use of creative craft in life as well as research and highlighted the need for more work around quilters to be carried out.