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Exploring emotionally-centred maternity care, practices, experiences and outcomes

18JulA pregnant person is photographed from above. Their belly is prominent.

As the fifth event in this ongoing quarterly webinar series from the King's Midwifery and Maternal Health Research Group, we are delighted to present the following talk with Dr Claire Feeley and Professor Gill Thomson: Exploring emotionally centred maternity care, practices, experiences and outcomes’.

Together they will share insights regarding a new collaboration (ECHO) they have orchestrated to focus on the emotional components of maternity care as related to experiences, outcomes and care practices that enhance perinatal wellbeing across the continuum. Additionally, Claire and Gill will share an exciting new opportunity coming soon, to contribute to a special issue of Frontiers focusing on these core issues.

The discussion will centre on the growing recognition that how care is provided to birthing women and people across the childbearing continuum has a significant impact on emotional responses with long lasting consequences for parents, families and care providers. Poor and disrespectful maternity care is a key risk factor for a traumatic birth and post-traumatic stress disorder and its associated sequalae - typically associated with fragmented models of maternity care and industrial birth practices. Conversely, meaningful, and needs-based relational care is a known protective factor. While continuity of carer supports the cultivation of trusting relationships, acts of kindness, compassion, dignity, and respect in other models of care can also have a positive influence on experiences across the perinatal period. Therefore, attending to the emotional components of maternity care and practices that enhance perinatal experiences and outcomes is important.

This event will be of interest to maternity professionals, academics, birth workers and service users. We will also allocate time for Q&A.

About Dr Claire Feeley

Dr Claire Feeley is a Lecturer of Midwifery at King’s College London with an emphasis on research within her role. As an experienced clinical midwife, educator and researcher, Claire specialises in physiological birth across the risk spectrum, water immersion, human rights framework, midwifery practice, skill and competence - all within a sociocultural-political lens. Claire’s personal research has included freebirthing, midwives supporting out of guidelines normal birth care with numerous collaborations in a wider range of topic areas i.e. assisted vaginal birth, experiences of pharmacological/non-pharmacological pain relief methods, water immersion outcomes and experiences, parents' psychosocial needs during neonatal unit care, patient and public involvement during innovation and continuity of care implementation.

About Professor Gill Thomson

Gill Thomson is a Professor in Perinatal Health within the Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Nurture Unit (MAINN) in the University of Central Lancashire. Gill has a psychology academic background and a PhD in midwifery. Gill has been led/been involved in a number of research/evaluation based projects funded by the Department of Health, National Institute of Health Research, Health Technology Assessment and third-sector organisations. Gill’s research interests relate to psychosocial influences and implications of perinatal care, with particular interests in birth trauma, factors that impact upon maternal wellbeing, and peer support models of care. She also has a particular specialism in a range of qualitative methodologies, in particular Hermeneutic Phenomenology, and qualitative/narrative based systematic reviews.

About Midwifery and Maternity Health Research Group

The Midwifery & Maternal Health Research Group is developing a programme of high-quality research to foster improvements to the delivery, outcomes and experiences of maternity care services. Our research is underpinned by the Lancet’s Midwifery framework for quality maternal and newborn care (QMNC). The QMNC is based on a definition of midwifery which encompasses skills, attitudes and behaviours, rather than specific professional roles. Therefore, while rooted in midwifery practice, our work goes beyond professional boundaries to centre childbearing women, people and their families.

Staff work within the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care, in close collaboration with the Life Course Sciences Women & Children’s Health Department. We are also forging research networks and collaborations with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience and Philosophy & Medicine. Additionally, the team bring their existing wider networks, service-user and clinician partnerships and collaborations that will develop and enhance the research profile.

We bring together our diverse but inter-related fields of interest. These have previously included modifiable risk factors for stillbirth, maternity care experiences for those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse, midwifery practices in facilitating complex physiological birth and improving maternity care for women with pre-existing medical conditions. Together, our work will continue to consider the outcomes and experiences of those receiving care, and those delivering care to address some of the key issues facing maternity services today.

At this event

Claire Feeley

Lecturer (Research & Teaching)


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