Well attended research seminar on childbearing and neonatal care

Childbearing – the qualitative research network (BfiN) and partners recently held a two-day seminar presenting research on childbearing and neonatal care in a global context.

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    Nicky Leap told her journey to midwifery through feminism in her keynote speech.
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    The seminar was attended by participants from Nordic and European countries.
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    It was a collaboration with Anita Wikberg and Pirjo Koski from the Network for Women’s Health in Childbearing, with the focus on Migrants and Minorities.
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    Terese Bondas (leader of BfiN) with Nicky Leap, one of the keynote speakers.

The first keynote speech was held by Adjunct Professor Nicky Leap. For more than 35 years, she has had a variety of roles in midwifery practice, education and research in both the UK and Australia. She is renowned for her work supporting the development of midwifery continuity of care models and group antenatal care and community health. In Stavanger, she told her journey to midwifery through feminism.

Woman centred care

–  The origins of woman-centred care go back to the early women’s liberations movement. It was part of the social justice movement of the 70s and 80s. Community health then started to be articulated around the principles of primary health care. This was a movement about challenging the biomedical model, power dynamics and hierarchies in the system, and enabling people to take control of their own health, in particular women, Leap explained.

Feminist values offered a completely new way of thinking about health care that was about social relationships and the sharing of information and expertise. Nicky came to midwifery through feminist activism and her work with youth and community development and participation. Throughout her career, she has been involved in different movements and organizations intent on changing the maternity care system in terms of midwife practice, policies, regulation and education by promoting continuity of care.

The feminist perspectives became underpinnings for focus on the relationship between the woman and midwife and for the promotion of continuity of care - that women should have continuity of the person looking after them during their maternity journey, before, during and after birth.

Her lifelong work to support making continuity of care models a public health strategy, has involved years spent documenting and analysing both woman and midwife’s perspectives on childbirth. She has been passionate about working in the local community, promoting community maternity care and developing groups and workshops for pregnant women and new mothers.

Fathers of twins

The second keynote speaker was PhD Kristiina Heinonen, Postdoc Researcher at University of Eastern Finland and teacher at Savo Consortium for Education, Finland. She is interested in phenomenology, hermeneutics and the concept of the lifeworld, and her research interests include family nursing care and multiple-birth families.

Heinonen presented her new research study relating to fathers’ experiences of being a parent to twins in Nordic countries, which will be published in an upcoming article. In her research, Heinonen has employed Van Manen’s phenomenological hermeneutic method in order to study the phenomena of being a father to twins and the development of fatherhood in relation to each and both twins. The method guides researchers in the study of lifeworld concepts, e.g. meaning of lived experiences. 

In maternity care, the focus is mainly on the mother and the relationship between the woman and midwife or other healthcare professionals.

– The fathers’ perspectives are important knowledge for both parents and healthcare professionals in order to understand the father’s need for support, says Heinonen.

New research in childbearing

The seminar programme also consisted of several sessions where researchers and PhD candidates presented their qualitative research project in the area of childbearing from pregnancy, birth, postpartum or neonatal care, as well as poster presentations.

Terese Bondas, Professor at the University of Stavanger and leader of the Childbearing network (BfiN) says in her comment:

–  Researchers and doctoral students from Norway, Finland, Sweden, Spain and UK met in the creative and constructive spirit of the collaborating research networks BfIN and WoMBH-net, and the participating universities. International research collaboration is important for developing the body of knowledge and the practice of perinatal and neonatal care.

The next research seminar will take place in collaboration with the Spanish university Universidade da Coruña, in Galicia, Spain, on September, 17-18th, 2020. More information will soon be available on our website.

Collaborating partners

The research seminar and workshop was organized by Childbearing – the qualitative research network (BfiN) and the Network for Women’s Health in Childbearing, with the focus on Migrants and Minorities, WoMBH-net. . It was a collaboration between the Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Stavanger, University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) Centre for Women's, Family and Child Health, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and Novia University of Applied Sciences, Finland.