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, Marie-Clare , Haith-Cooper, Melanie, Pařízková, Alena, Weckend, Marina Joanna, Fleming, Valerie, Roosalu, Triin and Vržina, Sanja Špoljar (2017) A concept analysis of the term migrant women in the context of pregnancy. International Journal of Nursing Practice . e12600. ISSN 1322-7114

Balaam, M-C, Haith-Cooper, M, Korfker D, Savona-Ventura (2017)  Asylum seekers and refugees: a cross European perspective. In: Psychosocial resilience and risk in the perinatal period: implications and guidance for professionals. edt. G Thomson & V Schmied Routledge London

Thomson, Gillian, Delap, N. F, Balaam, Marie-Clare and Van Lessen, L (2017) Caring to make a difference: vulnerable women. The Practising Midwife . ISSN 1461-3123            

Viken, Berit, Balaam, Marie-Clare and Lyberg, Anne (2017) A salutogenic perspective on maternity care for migrant women. In: New thinking on improving maternity care: International perspectives. Pinter & Martin. ISBN 978-1-78066-240-4

Balaam, Marie-Clare, Kingdon, Carol, Thomson, Gillian, Finlayson, Kenneth William and Downe, Soo (2015) ‘We make them feel special’: The experiences of voluntary sector workers supporting asylum seeking and refugee women during pregnancy and early motherhood. Midwifery . ISSN 02666138    

Thomson, G, Balaam, M-C and Hymers, K (2015) Building social capital through breastfeeding peer support: Insights from an evaluation of a voluntary breastfeeding peer support service in North-West England. International Journal of Breastfeeding, 10 (15).

More publications

External Activities

  • 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
  • Evaluation of health befriending project for pregnancy refugee and asylum seeking women, Refugee Council, Leeds
  • Member of Scientific Review/Conference Organisation Team for Optimising Birth Conference 2014
  • Birth Companions, birth outcomes research Project

Current Projects

  • Grant manager and co-chair of migrant women group  ISCH COST Action IS1405:Building
  • Intrapartum Research Through Health - an interdisciplinary whole system approach to understanding and contextualising physiological labour and birth (BIRTH)
  • UK national coordinator for Babies Born Better (BBB) European survey of birth experiences
  • Research assistant on British Academy Funded project : Supporting the peer supporter




S Downe, M Balaam, A Topalidou & R Escuriet  Catalysing Multidisciplinary Research, Practice, and Activism Around Physiological Labour and Birth: Lessons from Two EU COST Action Network Programmes ICM Toronto June 2017  

M Balaam & G Thomson Supporting the most vulnerable; the impact of social support on the perinatal experiences and outcomes of vulnerable women in North London. Special one-day conference on Maternal Morbidities; ‘Minding Mothers with Morbidities’ Trinity college, Dublin 8th November 2016

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