RESEARCH: University of Derby and Positive Birth Movement

"The Positive Birth Movement has the potential to help support midwives to tackle birth trauma"

A new summary of research from the University of Derby by Jenny Hallam, Lecturer in Psychology, has been published. 

The research involved the PBM group in Derby and explored supporting women through positive and negative birth experiences. 

“The Positive Birth Movement is a community group established by Milli Hill in 2012 with the aim of informing women of their birth choices, sharing birth stories and offering support for women during and after their pregnancy. Positive Birth Movement groups invite all pregnant women and mothers to attend regular meetings held in their local area. These meetings centre on a specific discussion topic and are led by facilitators who come from a wide range of backgrounds; some are doulas (people who offer support during pregnancy and before and after birth) and midwives, whereas others are women who are passionate about birth and want to offer support.

During the research project, women who regularly attended Positive Birth Movement meetings shared their experiences of pregnancy and birth with me. Women spoke about the lack of support they received from their midwife and discussed the ways in which the NHS left them to fend for themselves. In an effort to find out more about birth, women spoke to friends or paid for private antenatal classes. However, they reported that the advice they received focused very much on the negative aspects of birth and presented it as something to be frightened of.

The Positive Birth Movement was spoken about as being a transformative space that was a welcome antidote to feeling alone and fearful of birth. For the women involved in the research project, the Positive Birth Movement meetings were empowering. They allowed them to hear authentic birth stories, gain access to relevant information and connect to a community who would support them through their pregnancy. This indicates that the Positive Birth Movement has the potential to help support midwives to tackle birth trauma by setting expectations for a positive birth and also providing women with the information needed to provide a sense of control.”

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