Members of the Birth Project Group have been meeting since 2008. All were acutely aware of the profoundly positive value to new mothers and babies, families and the wider community of the best possible experience of childbearing, in establishing confident, strengthening and loving contexts for new parenthood. We share the view that the above is consistently achieved only when the wider community is committed to protecting and supporting newly pregnant women. To do this, all those working with pregnant women and their families need support themselves, so that they can give of their best and truly be with women and their families at this crucial time.
The elements that make up good birthing include most importantly listening to a woman as she journeys through pregnancy and new motherhood, making sense of what this experience means; giving her space and time; providing her with access to the best of education and midwifery skills; and securing a setting for labour and birth that is protective of the entwined physical and emotional needs of the mother, baby and family.
The focus of the group’s work is to regularly bring together midwifery students, newly-qualified midwives, experienced midwives, birth educators and doulas who want to develop a broad coalition for change to regain birth as a normal, social event and to build links for support in the wider community. See Keeping Birth Normal for more information on how the group came together.
Our ten members comprise those working with the Pregnancy and Parents Centre, birth educators, practising midwives, academic midwives in and/or responsible for midwifery education and research, student midwives and social critics writing about birth. This is a cross-national group, representing three universities and a charity: University of Edinburgh, Napier University, Trinity College Dublin and the Pregnancy and Parents Centre, Edinburgh. See here to find more information about the members.
The multi-disciplinary Birth Project Group (BPG) continues to be a collaboration between the PPC, Edinburgh Napier University, the University of Edinburgh and Trinity College Dublin. It has met less frequently during 2016/17 but the individuals involved have done a great deal of work in both Edinburgh and Dublin to promote its work of supporting student midwives, newly qualified midwives and other birth workers, and of raising awareness about what good birthing means and how it can best be provided.
The group has continued to publish articles (many of these are available on our PPC website). The survey to find out more about how midwives and student midwives are experiencing their workplaces was carried out in 2014 and received several hundred responses which were analysed through the end of 2014 and into 2015. Articles have continued to be published in the AIMS Journal, Midwives and The Practising Midwife. The article in the Practising Midwife published in March 2016 received a lot of coverage http://www.sarawickham.com/quo
The group started work in early 2015 to produce a submission for the Scottish Government’s consultation on maternity services in Scotland and over the course of several months gathered many research articles and prepared a submission about the benefits of caseloading midwifery and how best to provide safe, cost efficient maternity services that women find empowering and midwives find sustainable and professionally rewarding. The submission is available on the PPC website.
Its members also started planning a book on the politics maternity services to be edited by Rosemary Mander, Jo Murphy Lawless and Nadine Edwards which has been accepted by Routledge and is due to be published in 2017 and launched at the Edinburgh Radical Book Fair. Jo Murphy Lawless has been working with others in Dublin to raise awareness of maternal death and the improvements needed to provide safe maternity services. There have been exhibitions, a documentary and many articles published to date. For further information about some of the work see The Elephant Collective facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/The-E
We are advancing our work in three ways:
- Occasional conferences and workshops
- Presenting and publishing accounts of our work and resulting perspectives
- Developing proposals for the location of midwifery in the community in a setting that brings together all those involved with birth on an equal footing and with an equal voice
We are also developing more instruments for data collection and dissemination on the issues.
Click on the photos below to find out more about our work.