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 Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust    
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Liverpool Women's Hospital
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  Crown Street
Liverpool, L8 7SS
Tel: 0151 708 9988
Fax: 0151 702 4028


The Midwifery Department
All midwives are involved in research as an integral part of clinical practice. However, there are midwives who have chosen to become actively involved either by applying for work on a specific project or by carrying out research in their own field of interest. Midwives may be placed into 4 categories, all of which are vitally important:-

  • Midwives who support research as an integral part of their clinical work
  • Midwives who are employed for specific projects, often multi-centred trials
  • Midwives employed to carry out their own piece of research
  • Midwives who are carrying out research into their own specific speciality area

About Midwifery Research
Over the last decade research has been synonymous with the medical paradigm of carrying out "experiments" using scientific methods. Much of the research carried out in the clinical field has involved randomised-controlled trials to determine the effect of various treatments and interventions. Although midwives embrace this methodology when appropriate, there is also an ethos that generates insight gained from listening to participating women about their views and feelings. Therefore, midwifery research provides a holistic approach to investigation using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

How midwifery research has evolved
Initially, midwives and nurses had input into research as assistants and recruiters for medical based studies. More recently midwives have acted as local co-ordinators for multi-centred trials. Furthermore, many midwives are now initiating, designing and co-ordinating their own research. The post of midwife research co-ordinator, has proved to be a valuable step forward as it has given midwifery research a foundation on which to work from. The research office is now a hive of industry and a source of both information and inspiration. The creation of 2 additional part time midwifery research posts was also a very positive initiative, enabling the development of an enthusiastic "research team". This enthusiasm has led to the majority of research activity within the midwifery research department now being externally funded.

Areas of Research
A vast number of areas are explored i.e. antenatal, intrapartum, postnatal and neonatal all of which will ultimately benefit the women in our care.
In September 2002 the research activity involves:

  • Exploring models of maternity care
  • An exploration of women asylum seeker and refugeeā€™s experience of midwifery care
  • The S. O. R. T. Trial. (Smoking Occlusion Randomised Trial)
  • Validation of The Back pain Functional Scale in a maternity population
  • Planned Caesarean Section as a Delivery Option in Primigravid Women
  • Windows of opportunity ( Exploring avenues of health promotion)
  • Family Life and Breast Feeding
  • A prospective study to examine the views of women towards research in the maternity setting
  • PALS Partogram Action Line Study (2)
  • Breast Feeding Study- Expectation versus Reality
  • April Trial (A trial to compare intra-muscular Pethidine versus diamorphine for pain Relief in Labour)
  • The PROMMIS Trial (Prelabour rupture of the membranes and misoprostol)
  • The Amnioinfusion Trial
  • The Merseyside and Cheshire pilot of a North West Region follow up programme for very low birth weight infants
  • Antenatal detection of rate of heart defects

Implications for practice
The most important aspect of any research within the Trust is the women themselves. Research is carried out to improve practice by enabling us to provide evidence-based care. To date, there have been several changes in practice, which have been brought about due to the findings of research carried out in this Trust.

Research Interest Group
The Midwives research interest group disseminates the research activity on a monthly basis from October to July. This involves midwives presenting their research or inviting guest speakers. This group gives midwives the opportunity to stay abreast of the most recent research and it also allows those involved in research to share their ideas and thoughts.
The research interest group has two main roles -

  1. to support those involved in research
  2. to disseminate information.

Although the group consists mainly of midwives, practitioners from other disciplines are more than welcome. The Annual Midwifery Research Conference attracts interest nationally and locally and has grown in success with each year.

If you require any further information please contact Lesley Briscoe Midwifery Research Co-ordinator 0151 702 4355 or email lesley.briscoe@lwh-tr.nwest.nhs.uk