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].



  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.

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

Fear in childbirth and the Media

My first post of this dedicated ‘Media & Midwifery’ WordPress site. It was established to address issues around the role and influence of the media on societal attitudes and views on pregnancy, childbirth and other issues around new mothers.  This site is hosted by students and staff based at Bournemouth University (UK).   The hosts include members of the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health and the Journalism & Communication Academic Group at Bournemouth University.

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