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Childbirth, Reproduction and Maternity Care

Service Evaluation

This section aims to evaluate the effectiveness of different models of maternity care for childbearing women, and different ways of providing care, and to support women who have special care needs related to their pregnancies, labours, birth and the postpartum period.

Current projects

  • The introduction of the Option for Water-Birth in the Coombe Women and Infants’ University Hospital. PIs: Prof Cecily Begley and Paula Barry
  • Developing and auditing guidelines on hydration and nutrition in labour in the Coombe women and Infants’ University Hospital. PIs: Prof Cecily Begley and Paula Barry
  • What's for dinner: An investigation into what expressing mums eat. PIs: Assistant Prof Louise Gallagher, Ann O’Sullivan, Elaine Butler and Dr. Anne Doolan
  • Diagnosis of labour in the Coombe Women and Infant’s University Hospital: An audit of new guidelines. PIs: Prof Valerie Smith, Paula Barry and Ann Fergus
  • A mixed method exploration into the unmet demand for home birth in Ireland: PIs: Adjunct Prof Jo Murphy-Lawless and Prof Joan Lalor, with Health Research Board (HRB) Student Summer Scholar Eileen Kenny

Current research students

  • Margaret Dunlea, An exploration of the nature and impact of the combined-care model in pregnancy at the operational level of the antenatal encounter, from the perspective of service-users and providers, in the Greater Dublin Area. Principal Supervisor: Prof Vivienne Brady

Open opportunities for MSc/PhD projects

There are opportunities for PhD projects in the following topics:

1. Models of maternity care Margaret Dunlea

  • Models of maternity care in general
  • Developing and implementing a continuity integrated antenatal care pathways
  • Piloting group models of antenatal care
  • Piloting continuity and integrated care models
  • Women's experiences of perineal suturing
  • Developing the role of the midwife in primary care

2. Preparation for Birth and Motherhood Prof Vivienne Brady

  • Action research to promote women's involvement in Health Research, Service Planning and development
  • Antenatal education to address Fear in Childbirth
  • Developing Postnatal Community Supports for Women and New Mothers

3. Community Midwifery and Home Birth Prof Colm O'Boyle

  • Exploration of Home Birth services - integration with hospital services
  • Self-employed community midwives' experiences of Home Birth services since INMO insurance withdrawal, and the passing of the Nurses' & Midwives' Act 2011, and statutory requirement for indemnification
  • Memo of Understanding as means of supporting SECM/Home Birth
  • Home Birth service governance
  • National Maternity Strategy Normal risk/supported care pathway implementation

Completed projects

  • Outcomes for women not in established labour in the Coombe Women and Infants’ University Hospital. PIs: Prof Cecily Begley and Sunita Panda
  • Evaluation of the introduction of a Postnatal Ward Liaison Neonatal Nurse in the Coombe Women and Infants’ University Hospital. PIs: Prof Cecily Begley and Ann O’Sullivan
  • The strengths and weaknesses of publicly funded Irish health services provided to women with disabilities in relation to pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood. PI: Prof Cecily Begley
  • The Femplus Project: An Evaluation of a Crisis Pregnancy Community-based intervention. PI: Prof Joan Lalor
  • Meeting the Changing Needs of Women in Childbirth: A Qualitative Study of Women and Midwives in the North Eastern Health Board on Needs and Perceptions of Maternity Services. PI: Adjunct Prof Jo Murphy Lawless
  • Systematic reviews and quality assessment of systematic reviews of randomised trials of interventions for predicting, preventing and treating preterm birth. PI: Prof Cecily Begley
  • Establishing Advisory Committees on Women’s Maternity Services for Consumers and Providers: Lessons from Experience. PI: Adjunct Prof Jo Murphy Lawless
  • An economic evaluation of midwifery-led services in the Health Service Executive, North Eastern Area. PIs: Prof Cecily Begley and Prof Declan Devane

Completed research students

  • Claire Coleman, An exploration of the acceptability and effectiveness of contact tracing in the context of an outbreak of syphilis among men who have sex with men. Principal supervisor: Prof Cecily Begley
  • Declan Devane, An evaluation of the effectiveness of midwifery-led services in the Health Service Executive, North Eastern Area. The MidU Study - A Randomised Trial. Principal Supervisor: Prof Cecily Begley
  • Prof Valerie Smith, Evidence and Practices for Predicting and Preventing Preterm Birth. Principal supervisor: Prof Declan Devane