Media & childbirth in Nepal

Much of the academic literature about the mass  media,  ‘old’ (press, radio, television) or ‘new’ (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the like) has focused on high-income countries.  There is a growing literature on the effect on aspects of health and health care of the media in low-income countries.  In an overview article published yesterday we looked at the media, health and health promotion in Nepal as a two-way process [1].  Health promoters need to media to get their messages across to their audiences.  Thus the media offer a vital outlet for health promotion advice and information . Both the general public and health care workers learn about health and medical issues through the mass media.For example,  the mass media are used to increase the uptake of antenatal care among women in rural Nepal [2], or women can get information through YouTube clips [3].

img_6447Much of the academic literature about the mass  media,  ‘old’ (press, radio, television) or ‘new’ (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the like) has focused on high-income countries.  There is a growing literature on the effect on aspects of health and health care of the media in low-income countries.  In an overview article published yesterday we looked at the media, health and health promotion in Nepal as a two-way process [1].  Health promoters need to media to get their messages across to their audiences.  Thus the media offer a vital outlet for health promotion advice and information . Both the general public and health care workers learn about health and medical issues through the mass media.For example,  the mass media are used to increase the uptake of antenatal care among women in rural Nepal [2], or women can get information through YouTube clips [3].

Of course, we  are all aware that the media can misrepresent health issues, for example, mess up health statistics and exaggerate health scares. Such misrepresentation is partly through selective reporting and partly through sensationalising issues and focusing on negative effects. Our paper reminds health promoters (and health workers or policy makers) that good news is often ‘not’ interesting enough, they need something that will answer the most basic of questions that the media asks: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? Who is this story happening to? What has happened (the event)? Where has it taken place? Why is it happening now and how has this all come about. If health promoters can answer those questions going into any conversation with the media, then there is a chance that a reasonably factually correct stories will appear in the media.

jmmihs-2016We also remind the readers that many politicians are avid media followers, especially if they are named or their party is linked to a public health story. The same is true for multi-national corporations, large public bodies and charities working in the health field. Many such organisations keep a close eye on the media, not just the news, to keep track of how they are portrayed and perceived by the general public, potential customers and even suppliers. Those working in public health should be aware of this and use this knowledge when designing public health messages and campaigns.

 

References:

  1. van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Luce, A., Hundley, V. (2016) Media, Health and Health Promotion in Nepal, Journal of Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences 2(1): 70-75. http://www.nepjol.info/index.php/JMMIHS/article/view/15799/12744
  2. Acharya, D., Khanal, V., Singh, J.K., Adhikari, M., Gautam, S. (2015) Impact of mass media on the utilization of antenatal care services among women of rural community in Nepal. BMC Research Notes 8:4–9 http://bmcresnotes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13104-015-1312-8
  3. Global Health Media Project (no date) Giving good care during labour (Nepali) – Childbirth Series https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jjb6mbzaU7Y

 

Presentation Prof. Vanora Hundley

Dr. Julie Roberts, Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, leads a Wellcome Trust Seed Award on ‘Televising Childbirth: Understanding media impacts on perceptions of risk, women’s choices and health’. This project investigates the relationship between reality TV and women’s experiences of pregnancy and labour. The project brings together perspectives from midwifery, sociology, television studies and health humanities. It seeks the views of service users, activists and the media industry. The objective is to develop a new approach to questions about the role of TV in shaping women’s perceptions of risk, autonomy and choice during labour.wellcome-nottingham

As part of this project Prof. Vanora Hundley at University of Bournemouth (BU) will be speaking on Dec. 14th 2016 about ‘Changing the Narrative around Birth: Midwives Views of Working with the Media’. Prof. Hundley is a co-author on a study with colleagues at Bournemouth University and the University of Stirling with the title: “Is it realistic?” the portrayal of pregnancy and childbirth in the media’ [1]. luce-bmc-pregnancy-childbirthThe lead-author of this paper, Dr. Ann Luce is based in the Faculty of Media & Communication (BU), her co-authors Dr. Catherine Angell, Prof. Vanora Hundley, Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen and Dr. Marilyn Cash are all associated with the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (BU), whilst Prof. Helen Cheyne is based at the University of Stirling. Previous publications around childbirth and the media by Prof. Hundley focused on fear in childbirth [2] and the question whether midwives need to engage more actively with the mass media [3].

 

References:

  1. Luce, A., Cash, M., Hundley, V., Cheyne, H., van Teijlingen, E., Angell, C. (2016) “Is it realistic?” the portrayal of pregnancy and childbirth in the media BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 16: 40
  2. Hundley, V., Duff, E., Dewberry, J., Luce, A., van Teijlingen, E. (2014) Fear in childbirth: are the media responsible? MIDIRS Midwifery Digest 24(4): 444-447.
  3. Hundley, V., Luce, A., van Teijlingen, E. (2015) Do midwives need to be more media savvy? MIDIRS Midwifery Digest 25(1):5-10.

Guest Post – Sheena Byrom

 

Influencing the media – is it a midwife’s responsibility?

My interest in social media was sparked after I left the NHS in 2011, to embark on more academic learning, travelling and having quality time with my grandchildren. I’ve increasingly become more engaged with mainstream media because of social media, via links to topical maternity related pieces in magazines, newspapers and TV channels. Using social media has been a huge learning curve with enormous benefits to my life and career, though there have been some serious, darker moments. As well as connecting with positive like-minded individuals globally who support and nurture me, I’ve accessed hot-off-the-press articles and blog posts, and been able to share them widely. One of the most exciting opportunities social media has offered me, is an enhanced ability to communicate with women and families who use health services, especially maternity care. Whilst always considering professional accountability to myself and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, I find this is an essential part of my midwifery role – listening to a wider perspective, trying to appreciate the views and opinions of others. Social media enables this beyond face-to-face connections. It also gives me the chance to positively influence, to encourage and to share knowledge.

 

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The sad media stories about childbirth

two headed boyThere are many types of childbirth stories in the media. We all have seen stories about celebrities’ pregnancies, stories about the first baby born on Christmas day, stories about breast-feeding mother being told to leave a restaurant or public transport. There are also more factual statistical stories about birth rates and improving maternal mortality ratios. Today I came across a story of a deformed baby being born in Nepal. The English-language daily paper The Himalayan Times in Nepal carried a story of a woman who gave birth to a baby with two heads at the Hanumannagar Health Post of Saptari district two days ago. Unfortunately, the paper gave the woman’s name and age so little respect for the mother’s privacy.

Saptari woman gives birth to two-headed baby boy

Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
CMMPH, Bournemouth University

Interesting article in The Kathmandu Post today (31 July 2016)

Laxmi Tamang KTM POST 2016Laxmi Tamang makes a very good point in her article ‘Unkindest cut’ published in The Kathmandu Post (today 31 July 2016) about the lack of midwifery in Nepal. Midwifery is a profession independent from nursing, whereas nursing overwhelmingly deals with sick patients, midwifery deals with predominantly healthy pregnant women and women in labour. Pregnancy and childbirth are not an illness! We stated a few years ago that: ‘Nepal needs midwifery’ (see http://www.nepjol.info/index.php/JMMIHS/article/view/9907).

Nepal needs midwifery

Prof. Edwin Roland van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health, Bournemouth University, UK

The Effect that Internet Use in Pregnancy has on the Midwife-Woman Relationship

The effect that internet use in pregnancy has on the relationship between a pregnant woman and her midwife has been hotly debated through the various outcomes of different studies. As this relationship must be deeply personal in order for trust between the two women to flourish, I personally believe that qualitative studies would be far more accurate in conveying the depth of such a relationship, as well as painting a more elaborate picture of the factors that affect it. However, the majority of studies based on the topic that have been conducted in the UK so far are surprisingly quantitative (Declarq et al. 2006; Llarson 2009; Lagan et al. 2010; Lagan et al. 2011; Lima Pereira et al. 2012), according to Weston and Anderson (2014).Read More »

Are Teenagers Smoking due to fears of a Complicated Childbirth?

New research in Australia by Associate Professor Simone Dennis (Australian National University) came into light recently. He argued that teenagers “had read on packets that smoking can reduce the birth weight of your baby” – these teenagers were afraid of childbirth and it’s complications (Fenton 2016)[1]. They had concerns about giving birth to ‘large babies’ and hoped that smoking would help them deliver smaller babies as a result. The chemicals such as carbon monoxide from cigarettes mean that babies born to pregnant smokers are more likely to be around 8oz underweight, as well as having an increased risk of stillbirth or premature birth (NHS 2015)[2].

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Student Introduction to Media and Midwifery Project

Hello, my name is Grace G and I will be one of the contributors to this blog. I am a seventeen-year-old A level student who hopes to study biomedicine at university in the near future as I hope to have a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Currently, I am studying Biology, chemistry, Geology and Maths. For a long time, I have had an interest in human health (some of my favourites being genomics, immunology and virology) and taking part in research has long since been something I’ve wished to take part in.

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About Me and the Project Bootcamp

How has the public’s perception of midwives changed over the last couple of decades, and how has this change been reflected in social media? This is one of many questions I anticipate answering during the Media and Midwifery research project being conducted at Bournemouth University- a project which I wanted to join as a research assistant to contribute towards filling a void caused by a lack of previous research surrounding the link between specifically social media and childbirth.Read More »

My First Week as an Undergraduate Research Assistant

As I have just finished studying for a degree in Communication and Media (and potentially considering studying for a Postgraduate), I wanted to broaden my research skills, which is why I applied to be a part of this project. I also thought that my experience of using platforms such as WordPress and Twitter would be beneficial to the research project as I can maintain the blog and Twitter page.

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