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Childbirth, Reproduction and Maternity Care


Normality in Childbirth

This section aims to support a culture of normal labour and birth in Ireland that is evidence-based and respectful of women’s needs and experiences.

Current projects

  • Maternal Health And Maternal Morbidity in Ireland (MAMMI). Phase 1 and 2. PIs: Prof Cecily Begley and Prof Deirdre Daly
  • Irish and New Zealand midwives' expertise in preserving the perineum intact: the 'MEPPI' study. PI: Prof Cecily Begley

Current research students

  • Deirdre O’Malley, Maternal health And Maternal Morbidity in Ireland (MAMMI) (Sexual Health Strand). Principal Supervisor: Prof Agnes Higgins
  • Susannah Sweetman, Navigating a Path in Early Pregnancy: Women's Beliefs about Birth in Ireland. Principal Supervisor: Adjunct Prof Jo Murphy Lawless
  • Sylvia Murphy-Tighe, Concealed pregnancy in 21st century Ireland – the CARE study. Principal Supervisor: Prof Joan Lalor
  • Sunita Panda, Maternal health and maternal morbidity in Ireland (MAMMI): Caesarean section strand. Principal Supervisor: Prof Deirdre Daly
  • Jamile Marchi, Food behaviours that contribute to risk factors during pregnancy and lactation in Ireland. Principal Supervisor: Prof Deirdre Daly

Open opportunities for MSc/PhD projects

There are opportunities for PhD projects in the following topics:

1. MAMMI (Maternal Health and Maternal Morbidity in Ireland). Please see website for information on this project (http://www.mammi.ie/). Researchers: Prof Deirdre Daly and Prof Cecily Begley

  • Use of antibiotics in pregnancy, labour and postpartum
  • Womens' experiences of Vaginal Birth after Caesarean Section (VBAC) Prof Cecily Begley
  • Anal incontinence: risk factors and interventions
  • Obesity and associated factors in first-time mothers
  • Other morbidities, including perineal trauma and pain - please contact us to discuss
  • Activity and exercise during pregnancy and postpartum
  • The economic costs of becoming a mother
  • Breastfeeding issues and experiences

2. Promoting normality in childbirth Prof Cecily Begley

  • Use and abuse of oxytocin in labour
  • Reducing episiotomy rates in Ireland
  • Increasing the use of expectant care in the third stage of labour
  • Other topics - please contact us to discuss Prof Cecily Begley

3. Assessing fetal wellbeing during pregnancy and childbirth Prof Valerie Smith

  • Womens' views and experiences of fetal heart rate monitoring on admission to the maternity unit with signs of possible labour (mixed methods design)
  • Fetal heart rate monitoring during labour
  • Monitoring fetal movements in pregnancy: women's perspectives
  • Evaluating methods for detecting decreased fetal movements in pregnancy (randomised trial design)
  • Evaluating clinical care pathways/strategies for women presenting with decreased fetal movements in pregnancy (randomised trial design)
  • Development of a core outcome set of measures for use in trials on fetal movements in pregnancy (e-Delphi and other consensus methods)

Completed projects

  • Deirdre Daly, Maternal health And Maternal Morbidity in Ireland (MAMMI) (Urinary incontinence strand). Principal Supervisor: Prof Cecily Begley
  • Women's experiences of urinary incontinence (UI) during pregnancy. PI: Prof Deirdre Daly (2012 HRB summer student scholarship for Sophie Clare). 
    Irish and New Zealand midwives' expertise in expectant management of the third stage of labour: the 'MEET' study. PI: Prof Cecily Begley
  • The socio-economic impact of midwifery-led care. PI: Prof Declan Devane
  • Fetal Cardiotocography versus intermittent auscultation during labour ward admission: A randomised trial and qualitative follow up. The ADCAR Trial. PI: Prof Declan Devane
  • The development, implementation and evaluation of evidence-based guidelines for maternity care in the Health Service Executive, North Eastern Area: An Action Research Project. PIs: Prof Cecily Begley and Prof Declan Devane
  • Promoting normality in childbirth (ESF-funded international workshop). PI Prof Cecily Begley
  • Two year follow-up of couples following fetal anomaly diagnosis. PI: Prof Joan Lalor
  • A Case Study of concealed pregnancy in 21st Century Ireland. PI: Prof Joan Lalor
  • Male partner experiences of prenatal diagnosis. PI: Prof Joan Lalor
  • National infant feeding survey (Phases 1 to 3). PI: Prof Cecily Begley

Completed research students

  • Prof Valerie Smith, Monitoring the fetal heart for the assessment of fetal wellbeing. Systematic reviews of the evidence and the design, conduct and preliminary findings of a multi-centre randomised trial: the ADCAR trial. Principal Supervisor: Prof Declan Devane
  • Louise Gallagher, The factors affecting initiation and duration of breastfeeding in Ireland. Principal Supervisor: Prof Cecily Begley
  • Patricia Larkin, An Exploration of Women's Expectations and Experiences of Childbirth in Ireland. Principal Supervisor: Prof Cecily Begley
  • Joan Lalor, Recasting Hope: A Longitudinal Study of Women's experiences of carrying a baby with a fetal anomaly up to and beyond birth. Principal Supervisor: Prof Cecily Begley
  • Francesa Wuytack, Maternal Health and Maternal Morbidity in Ireland (MAMMI) (Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain strand). Principal Supervisor: Prof Cecily Begley
  • Linda Biesty, An Ethnographic study of In-Labour Transfer to Hospital for planned Home Birth. Principal Supervisor: Prof Cecily Begley