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.

Whilst midwifery is not a topic that I know a lot about, it was interesting to have an open discussion during the bootcamp about the process of childbirth and to talk about some of the common fears and expectations that face pregnant women. For instance, I didn’t realise that birth should mainly be a natural process, I thought that it is a terrifying and medicalised experience. Yet after talking to Ann, Vanora and Edwin, it became clear that perhaps my view of this has stemmed from a lot of the dramatised content of the media; very rarely do we see an ‘easy’ birth, it is always fraught with complications and panic-stricken doctors/nurses rushing around the hospital. After further researching journal articles and reading online discussions about childbirth, a few topics emerged that I would like to study.


Firstly, I considered the different expectations both parents would have about childbirth as I found that mostly the mother’s opinion is the only one considered. Therefore, I would like to conduct research or read into how the mother and father’s experience of pregnancy and birth differ. This could be monitoring hastags on Twitter and collecting the results, or through interviewing couples to gather their individual opinions. Secondly, I found a few articles revolving around midwives’ use of social media, there are differing opinions about whether midwives should tell their (personal) stories on a very public platform, but sharing these stories may also help ease the fears of other pregnant women. It would be good to gain a greater insight into if (and how) midwives use social media. I have seen many Facebook groups for pregnant women, and often I have seen student/ graduate midwives commenting and joining in on discussions. Thirdly, one topic that came to light during the bootcamp is if young people think about childbirth, and if they do, what exactly do they think about? I have been looking at discussions on ‘Teen Mom’ and ‘16 and Pregnant’ on Twitter, but there is not a great deal mentioned about childbirth specifically. Therefore, conducting surveys/ interviews or analysing the content of the television shows may give us more information.

This is certainly going to be a challenging project over the next 6 weeks, and I have no doubts that I will continue to learn more and more about pregnancy and childbirth (a topic that I wouldn’t ordinarily consider). Nonetheless, I am excited to learn, contribute and have an opportunity to practice my media and research skills in the process.

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