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University Hosts Seventh Annual Birth Conference

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The University of Worcester’s Institute of Health and Society recently held its seventh Annual Birth Conference, entitled ‘Dignity and Compassion in Childbirth’.

The conference, chaired by the UK’s first Professor of Perinatal Education, Professor Mary Nolan, saw plenary session speakers discuss key issues relating to childbirth from four different perspectives.

Professor Nolan explains: “Professor Billie Hunter, from Cardiff University, focused on what midwives need to be able to provide compassionate care, while Seany O’Kane explored the conference theme from his point of view as a Young Fathers’ Worker in East London.

“Elizabeth Prochaska, lawyer and founder of the Birthrights charity, explained how Human Rights legislation supports the choices that women make around childbearing, and Gill Thomson from the University of Central Lancashire took a psychologist's perspective on what kind of care enables women to have a 'joyous' experience of childbirth.”

Seventy-five delegates then enjoyed the opportunity to choose to attend two of seven parallel workshops on offer, with facilitators exploring Muslim women's experience of using the NHS; communicating sensitively with mothers and fathers who have learning difficulties; providing midwifery care that promotes normal birth; how to remain resilient as a recently qualified midwife; factors influencing the retention of student midwives, and whether under-resourcing on the postnatal ward makes compassionate care impossible.

Professor Nolan continues: “We received excellent feedback from the delegates, and that was matched by the very positive comments from all the speakers and workshop leaders who praised the friendliness of the University staff, the organisation of the day and the enthusiasm of the audience.

“Thanks are owed to Toni Martin, Senior Midwifery Lecturer and Laura Walton, a third year midwifery student, for their help in organising the day, and to Jo Fleet for making the administrative arrangements.”