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Childbirth, Reproduction and Maternity Care


Women Centred Care

This section aims to evaluate the effectiveness of health care interventions in enhancing women-centred childbirth, including systematic reviews of interventions.

Current projects

  • The Protection of Life in Pregnancy Act 2013 and the Pathway of Care for Pregnant Women in Ireland. PI: Prof Joan Lalor
  • Improving the organisation of maternal health service delivery, and optimising childbirth, by increasing vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC) through enhanced women-centred care (OptiBIRTH). PI: Prof Cecily Begley

Current research students

  • Louise Rafferty, Perinatal Mental Health and Maternal Morbidity. Principal Supervisor: Prof Agnes Higgins
  • Brigid Arkins, Intimate partner violence during the perinatal period. Principal Supervisor: Prof Agnes Higgins
  • Elizabeth Quinn, An investigation into the impact of breastfeeding support groups in Ireland - from a cultural historical activity theory perspective. Principal Supervisor: Prof Louise Gallagher
  • Hibah Alnamir, Irish expectant father's perceptions and contribution to the provision of breastfeeding support: A mixed method multiphase study Principal Supervisor: Prof Anne Marie Brady
  • Malgorzata J Stach, Technology at birth: an analysis of non-expert accounts. Principal Supervisor: Adjunct Prof Jo Murphy Lawless

Open opportunities for MSc/PhD projects

There are opportunities for PhD projects in the following topics:

1. Trauma and traumatic loss in childbirth Prof Joan Lalor

  • Development of a model of palliative care for neonates with life-limiting conditions (well developed)
  • Continuing bonds-preserving a place in the family for the baby that dies before or soon after birth (RQ and methodology done)
  • Parents' experiences of witnessing resuscitation and death in the NICU (RQ and methodology done)
  • Transition to motherhood/fatherhood when your baby is in the NICU (GT-S&C approach to verify/modify extant theories and adapt to NICU

2. Parenting and parents with a disability Prof Denise Lawlor

  • Preparing for parenthood
  • Parenting with a disability
  • Transition to fatherhood for fathers with a disability
  • Motherhood and homelessness
  • Development of a care pathway for women with a disability accessing maternity care

3. Infant Feeding Prof Louise Gallagher

  • Use of social media and technology to support breastfeeding
  • Development of family-centred strategies to support exclusive breastfeeding
  • Exploration of the use of incentives to increase breastfeeding rates among Irish mothers

Completed projects

  • Fetal Movement Counting in Pregnancy for Assessing Fetal Wellbeing.  PI: Prof Valerie Smith
  • Teen Parent Support Programme: Increasing the Awareness and Engagement of Men in order to Support their Partners during Crisis Pregnancy and Parenting by making Services more accessible. PIs: Prof Agnes Higgins and Prof Joan Lalor
  • The Concept, Provision and Promotion of Women-Centred Care during Pregnancy and Birth in Ireland. PI: Prof Declan Devane
  • The Rotunda and the Women of the North Inner City - An Exploratory Study. PI: Prof Louise Gallagher
  • A qualitative study on women’s decision making on sex, fertility and motherhood. PI: Adjunct Prof Jo Murphy Lawless
  • Peer supporters' perceptions of a breastfeeding education programme. PI: Prof Louise Gallagher
  • Childhood neuro-development outcomes and assessment methods. PI: Prof Cecily Begley
  • Women's Experiences of Vaginal Examination in Labour: A Meta-Study. PI: Prof Vivienne Brady

Completed research students

  • Louise Moore, Medication management for patients with rheumatic disease with a pregnancy wish, during pregnancy and postnatally - Current Irish practice. Principal Supervisor: Prof Joan Lalor
  • Vivienne Brady, Developing an Antenatal Education Model in preparation for Motherhood - A Participatory Action Research Approach. Principal Supervisor: Prof Joan Lalor
  • Colm OBoyle, An Ethnography of Independent Midwifery in Ireland. Supervisor: Adjunct Prof Jo Murphy Lawless
  • Carolyn Tobin, Childbirth in Exile: Refugee and asylum seeking women's experience of childbirth in Ireland. Principal Supervisor: Adjunct Prof Jo Murphy Lawless
  • Lorraine Carroll, The Development, Implementation and Evaluation of evidence based guidelines for Maternity Care in the Health Service Executive, North Eastern area: An Action Research Project. Principal Supervisor: Prof Cecily Begley
  • Denise Lawler, Transition to motherhood and construction of identity for Women with a Physical and Sensory Disability: A Grounded Theory approach. Principal Supervisor: Prof Joan Lalor
  • Magdalena Ohaja, Women's and Midwives' experiences and understanding of safe motherhood in South-East Nigeria: A feminist-inspired Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study. Principal Supervisor: Adjunct Prof Jo Murphy Lawless
  • Rebekah Maguire, An Ethnography of cultural change within a randomised trial aimed at increasing vaginal birth after caesarean section: The OptiBIRTH study. Principal Supervisor: Prof Valerie Smith