Marie-Clare Balaam

Research Assistant

School of Community Health and Midwifery

Brook Building, BB224

+44 (0) 1772 89 3885

Subject Areas: Midwifery

Marie-Clare's background is in History and Women's Studies. Her current research interests are in migrant women's experiences of maternity care and childbirth in the UK and Europe and historical perspectives on women's health.

Marie-Clare is research active within the area of midwifery and maternal child health and is a member of the Research in Childbirth and Health Unit (ReaCH).

Full Profile

After graduating with a BA (Hons) in History from Lancaster University in 1991 and an MA in American Studies from Nottingham University in 1993, Marie-Clare has worked as a lecturer and academic researcher in history and women's studies in a number of UK Universities. She has also been involved in a range of community based projects in the midlands and north of England. Her research interests are related to aspects of maternity care for migrant and marginalised women in the UK and Europe, particularly access to care and issues of social support. She is also interested in medical and women’s history, particularly the history of menopause.

Current research activities predominantly concern migrant women’s experiences of maternity care and birth in the UK and Europe.


Balaam M.-C. (2015) A concept analysis of befriending. Journal of Advanced Nursing 71(1), 24–34. doi: 10.1111/jan.12553


Balaam, Marie-Clare, Akerjordet, Kristin, Lyberg, Anne, Kaiser, Barbara, Schoening, Eva, Fredriksen, Anne-Mari, Ensel, Angelica, Gouni, Olga and Severinsson, Elisabeth (2013) A qualitative review of migrant women's perceptions of their needs and experiences related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Balaam, Marie-Clare and Crowther, Barbara (2010) Menopause Exposed: Women Surveying Women. Women's History Magazine (62).

Balaam, Marie-Clare (2000) Representations of Menopause and Menopausal Women in Turn of the Century. British Medical Journals. Women's History Notebooks, 7 (1). pp. 10-14. ISSN 1358-1457

Balaam, M-C. & Lambert, S. (2011) Oral History as Community History: The Welcome Stories Oral History Project. Centre for North West Regional Studies,10, 2-13

More publications

External Activities

  • Member of COST Action IS0907 Childbirth Cultures and Consequences: creating a dynamic EU framework for Optimal care 
  • Member of COST Action IS1405 Building Intrapartum Research Through Health - an interdisciplinary whole system approach to understanding and contextualising physiological labour and birth (BIRTH)
  • Member of the Reproductive Outcomes and Migration: an International Research Collaboration (ROAM)
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Normal Birth Conference
  • Member of Scientific Review/Conference Organisation Team for Optimising Birth Conference 2014
  • Reviewer for international peer reviewed journal; BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth and Journal of Advanced Nursing
  • Member of the steering committee for Babies Born Better Survey (BBB) and UK National Coordinator

Past Projects

  • Project administrator and active member of  EU funded COST Action IS0907: Childbirth, Cultures and Consequences creating a dynamic EU framework for Optimal care
  • Evaluation of Lavender Doula Project, Blackburn, Lancashire
  • Qualitative research methods project
  • Evaluation of Baby Friendly Accreditation: peer support and evidence of impact for building social capital commissioned by NHS Northwest

Current Projects

  • Project administrator for and active member of working group 3 of ISCH COST Action IS1405:Building Intrapartum Research Through Health - an interdisciplinary whole system approach to understanding and contextualising physiological labour and birth (BIRTH)
  • Babies Born Better (BBB) European survey of birth experiences
  • Evaluation of health befriending project for pregnancy refugee and asylum seeking women, Refugee Council, Leeds
  • Birth Companions, birth outcomes research Project



    A friend but not a friend': Migrant women's experiences of a befriending scheme for pregnant refugees and asylum seekers in the UK Marie-Clare Balaam, R McCarthy, D Pluto, J Ingham, OPTIMISE2014 Conference; Optimising Childbirth across Europe: An interdisciplinary maternity care conference, Vrije Universiteit Brussel Belgium9/04/2014

    An examination of the set up, running of, and outputs from the multinational iresearch4birth EU COST action S Downe, M Berg, VSmith, M Gross, Marie-Clare Balaam ICM Prague 2014

    Refugee and Asylum Seeking women and Maternity Care: Seeing through the eyes of volunteer workers Normal Birth Conference 2011 Grange over Sands

    Women Surveying Women: The Normal Menopause (with B Crowther) The Female Touch: Women, Health and Society, 1870-1950, University of Warwick , September 2002

    Exploring the Hidden Histories of Wolverhampton (with R Sargeant) Annual Conference of the Oral History Society, Guildhall University, London, 2001

    Writing Our Stories, Writing their stories (with P Green) Writing Women’s History, University of Warwick, May 2001

    The Sexual Politics of Sickness: The last 25 years, Social Science History Association Pittsburgh, USA, 2002 (funded by a Royal History Society Travel Grant)

    Useless individuals: representations of post reproductive women in British medical Journals 1880-1914 Social History Conference Nottingham 1998

    Sexual Delusions, imagined pregnancy and dementia: medical representations of the menopause, The Lancet,1880-1914 European Social Science History Conference, Amsterdam, 1998