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.

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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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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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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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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