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.
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’ . The 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  and the question whether midwives need to engage more actively with the mass media .
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
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.
Hundley, V., Luce, A., van Teijlingen, E. (2015) Do midwives need to be more media savvy? MIDIRS Midwifery Digest 25(1):5-10.
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.
Laxmi 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).
Prof. Edwin Roland van Teijlingen
Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health, Bournemouth University, UK
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 »