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Normal Labour and Birth Conference

June 2015

10th International Normal Labour and Birth Research Conference

The ‘Normal Labour and Birth’ conference, the 10th conference in an international series, took place in June 2015 in Grange over Sands in the English Lake District, to develop and disseminate evidence in the area of normal labour and birth.   

This important global event (#normalbirth10), which is a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) initiative, was led by Soo Downe from the Research in Childbirth and Health Unit (ReaCH), in the School of Health at UCLan. 

The aims of the conference were to provide the opportunity to disseminate ongoing and complete research, to enhance clinical practice, education, management, supervision, service delivery, and policy, and to further research collaboration.

With over 200 delegates from 15 countries, the conference gave participants the opportunity to address and debate social, cultural, physiological, psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of labour and birth.   It also examined new developments in the current evidence base on the nature of and cultures around birth, and on associated processes and outcomes of labour and birth. Papers covered primary and secondary research, methodological debates, and new philosophies and constructs in this area.  Delegates were also invited to discuss an agenda for the future in the area of normal labour and birth.

Participants included midwives, obstetricians, epidemiologists, sociologists, anthropologists, architects, service users, activists, students, paediatricians, actors, and many others. 

UCLan were delighted to welcome the following keynote speakers to address the conference over the three days:

  • Professor Jim Zhang (Research on Physiological Length of Labour), Shanghai Jiao University, China
  • Professor Mary Renfrew (Implications of the Lancet Series on Midwifery), University of Dundee UK
  • Professor Peter Brocklehurst (New Innovations in the Epidemiology and Consequences of Intrapartum Events: the UK Life study), Director EGA Institute for Women’s Health,  University College London, UK
  • Professor Lisa Kane Low (Implementation of the Science supporting physiological labour and birth) University of Michigan, USA
  • Yoanna Stancheva, (Midwifery Untamed: Subverting the Status Quo Safely), student midwife, and co-founder of the Bulgarian Institute for Midwifery Research, Bulgaria

Soo Downe was delighted to lead this 10th conference and commented: “The quality of the research presented was world class. The venue, the Grange Hotel in the English Lake District, is the perfect setting to bring together researchers and others from around the world, and to showcase the best international research in the area of normal childbirth, across the whole range of methodological approach, from very small in-depth qualitative studies, to quantitative studies with hundreds of thousands of participants.”

She added: “The UCLan Research in Childbirth and Health (ReaCH) team are very proud and honoured to have set up the Conference Series, with the invaluable help of the health conferences team at UCLan, and the International Series Steering Group. We look forward to the 11th conference in Sydney, Australia in 2016, and then to welcoming everyone back at Grange in 2017.”

The potential twitter reach for this event was reaching 6 million by the end of the conference, and you can find out more at #normalbirth10.