Navigation

Explore our research

  • Research in Childbirth and Health Unit (ReaCH)

    New born baby

The Research in Childbirth and Health group has a specific interest in understanding ‘what works well’, in the complex, real world of clinical practice and service organisation, especially where unexpectedly positive outcomes are achieved. The key clinical focus is around the nature and outcomes of normal childbirth. The group undertakes studies of complex interventions, using a wide range of methods, from ethnography to randomised trials, and from surveys to phenomenology. Collaborators currently engaged in research projects with ReaCH include midwives, obstetricians, service users, nurses, complementary therapists, psychologists, statisticians, social scientists, sociologists, health economists, medical specialists, and biological scientists. This mix provides an environment that allows for open discussion of research ideas across clinical and academic disciplines.

Expertise and subject areas

This group uses a wide range of methods, from ethnography to randomised trials, surveys to phenomenology. Studies include:

  • The nature and outcomes of normal childbirth
  • New forms of clinical practice that optimise physiological childbirth
  • Underlying factors in women’s choices around childbearing (with a particular focus on caesarean section)

Impact

ReaCH research has contributed to a change in definition of ‘normal birth’ in the collection of government maternity statistics, and has catalysed the establishment of the Royal College of Midwives’ Campaign for Normal Birth.

Events and News

5th International Conference on Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood

Courses and Postgraduate Study

Mw 4052: Normal childbirth, evidence and debate

Additional information

For more information contact:

Dr Soo Downe
Professor of Midwifery Studies
Tel: +44 (0) 1772 893815

Related Projects

Completed Projects

Phenomenological study of midwifery and leadership


Systematic review of studies of maternity care expertise


Midwives views of midwifery expertise; a focus group study


Comensus project: action research evaluation


Marginalised women and access to antenatal care in high-income countries: a qualitative systematic review


A hero’s tale of childbirth: An interpretive phenomenological study of traumatic and positive childbirth


Exploring midwives views of midwifery in a hospital environment: a systematic review and metasynthesis


Meta-analysis of studies of free-standing midwife led units
Funded: PhD bursary and infrastructure.


Cochrane review of home like places of birth
E Hodnett, D Walsh, N Edwards.
Funded: infrastructure.


Ethnography of Egyptian women’s intrapartum experiences
A El-Nemer, N Small.
Funded: infrastructure.


Systematic review of umbilical cord management prior to the birth of the fetal shoulders
C Melvin, the NW clinical midwifery research network.
Funded: infrastructure (UCLan and Blackburn Queens Park Hospital). Paper published.


Regional survey of midwives practices in relation to umbilical cord management
C Melvin, the NW clinical midwifery research network.
Funded: infrastructure (UCLan and ELHNHST).


Systematic review of management of dry skin in the term neonate
L Walker, the NW clinical midwifery research network.
Funded: infrastructure (UCLan and Blackpool Hospitals NHS Trust). Paper published.


Randomised controlled trial to assess the effects of maternal positioning in the passive second stage of labour amid nulliparous women using epidural analgesia
M Renfew, D Gerrett.
Funded: Iolanthe Trust PhD bursary. Paper published.


Assessment of midwifery management of the early urge to push (1)
Trent Midwifery Research Group, Young C and Hall-Moran.
Funded: Derby City Hospitals NHS Trust. Book chapter published.


Pushing prior to full dilation: Current prevalence
Trent Midwifery Research Group, Young C and Hall-Moran.
Funded: Derby City Hospitals NHS Trust. Book chapter published.


South Asian women and postnatal depression: systematic review of tools to assess postnatal depression in UK based South Asian women
Butler E, Hinder S.
Funded: Blackburn with Darwen PCT. Paper published.


Meta-synthesis of studies of free-standing midwife led units
Funded: PhD bursary and infrastructure.


South Asian women and postnatal depression: Metasynthesis of studies of UK based S Asian women’s views and experiences of postnatal depression
S Hinder.
Funded: infrastructure.


South Asian women and postnatal depression: Interview study of S Asian women with PND living in the NW of England
S Hinder, L Walmsley.
Funded: Blackburn with Darwen PCT.


Comensus project: action research evaluation (phase two)
M McKeowen, L Kolocheck, L Shoja, Comensus project groups.
Funded: UCLan School of Nursing.


Feasibility study for case-matched study of caseholding midwifery
Fleming A.
Funded: infrastructure.