Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health

Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health

The Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health aims to promote the health and wellbeing of women, babies and their families by enhancing practice through education, research and scholarship.

The Centre focuses on research in midwifery, maternal and perinatal care, and women's health. Academic researchers associated with the group employ a wide spectrum of research approaches, ranging from qualitative to quantitative research and from mixed-methods studies to systematic reviews.

We cover a range of different topics, with studies undertaken locally in Dorset and the South of England, nationally across the UK, and internationally as far afield as Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan and the USA. We currently have 22 doctoral students working on a wide variety of projects both local and international.

Research focuses on the following broad areas

Changing the narrative and care in early labour

Changing the narrative and care in early labour

Led by Professor Vanora Hundley, this research group focuses on improving care and support for women in early / latent phase labour. Our research is interdisciplinary and part of the International Early Labour Research group.

Infant feeding and postnatal care

Infant feeding and postnatal care

CMMPH has a long of history of research designed to improve the care of mother and babies after birth. Associate Professor Catherine Angell co-ordinates a range of research in this area from infant feeding to student led postnatal clinics.

Improving care for mothers and babies in low and middle income countries

Improving care for mothers and babies in low and middle income countries

Researchers in CMMPH work with colleagues in a number of Low and Middle Income Countries including Nepal, India, and Uganda to improve care for mothers and babies. We are working with organisations such as WHO and the International Confederation of Midwives. This group is led by Professor Edwin van Teijlingen.

Women from different nationalities and cultures

Women's health and other research

Led by Professor Carol Clark, this group focuses primarily on women's health. Research includes physiology, nutrition, physiotherapy and media. Research includes physiology, nutrition, physiotherapy and media. Our strong interdisciplinary group brings together colleagues to look at research and practice in new and innovative ways.

Past, present and future midwives

One of the first, three year direct entry (pre-registration) midwifery programmes in the UK was approved by the English National Board in 1990 as part of a portfolio of programmes offered by the Dorset and Salisbury College of Midwifery and Nursing (DASCOMAN). Prior to this, training to be a midwife was generally only available for people who were already registered nurses.

In 1992, when Bournemouth Polytechnic became a university, DASCOMAN fully joined the university, which enabled a suite of pre-registration midwifery programmes to be offered at Advanced Diploma and Honours Degree level. Students gained their clinical experience across Dorset and Wiltshire.

In 1996, through a competitive process, Bournemouth University was awarded lead provider status for midwifery education across Wessex under the NHS Executive Educational Contract. This extended the clinical footprint for students from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to South Somerset.

Midwifery education has continued to grow and innovate over the years. Following a successful pilot project in 1996, student caseload practice was fully integrated into the undergraduate programme, before it became national policy. One of very few Ventouse practitioner programmes was pioneered, offering a practical solution for remote birth centres, where transferring to a consultant-led unit was challenging. In 2011 the undergraduate programme was one of the earliest in the UK to achieve UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) accreditation.

Numerous midwifery students, qualified midwives and members of staff have passed through Bournemouth University. Click here to find out more. 

Doctoral students

CMMPH has a large number of doctoral students working on topics as diverse as the weaning age in post-medieval populations, women’s experiences of care, and antenatal care in rural Nepal. We have also developed a clinical academic doctorate studentship in association with our practice partners, download this flyer for more information (pdf 391kb).

Our students were recently highlighted in the NIHR Clinical Research Network Magazine 'VISION'. Click here for more information. 


We have a long and successful history of providing midwifery education programmes. The midwifery teaching team is a cohesive group of highly motivated teachers who are passionate about midwifery. The team has a range of clinical experience and expertise ranging from normal childbirth to those women with complex social, obstetric and medical needs; breast feeding, care of the newborn in challenging situations, student caseload holding as well as independent and NHS practice.

What career could be more rewarding than one that helps to bring new life into the world? This course, with its high student satisfaction rates and accreditation by the Nursing & Midwifery Council, can teach you to do just that!

We believe that women are at the centre of their midwifery care, and as such this approach underpins our core philosophy. The key tenets of our undergraduate midwifery programme are underpinned by the ‘6Cs’ relating to care, compassions, competence, communication, courage and competence. As a team we aim to provide challenging and stimulating learning that creates the passion for lifelong learning. Students are encouraged to publish their work, an example of which can be found here.

Read what Becky Weston, a student midwife undertaking her clinical experience in Portsmouth, has to say about the programme.

Reducing avoidable admissions at term: an interactive eLearning resource

This interactive eLearning resource was commissioned and funded by Health Education England (Wessex). Several case scenarios were devised by Bournemouth University Senior Midwifery Lecturers Luisa Cescutti-Butler and Debbee Houghton in conjunction with a team of multi-disciplinary professionals from across the Wessex patch.

The package is designed to provide healthcare professionals (middle grade paediatricians in training & non-training posts, post reg child branch students, pre reg child branch & midwifery students, midwives and neonatal nurses skills ) with knowledge needed to make decisions and take actions to avoid term babies being unnecessarily admitted to neonatal units. Practitioners accessing the e-learning will work through realistic scenarios that may be encountered during a clinical shift, and asked to consider decisions on situations as they unfold.

Third year Bournemouth University midwifery students have had the package incorporated into the Complex care unit which focuses on complexity within midwifery for women and their babies. First year midwifery students have been asked to work through a scenario which focuses on a woman and her baby being cared for in a low risk maternity unit.

The e-learning package has received support and acclaim from NHS England (now the NHS Improvement as the body overseeing the Term Admissions work) and it is also being used by the Neonatal Nurse preceptees throughout Wessex and has been advertised across the region and nationally.


Staff at the centre have introduced a number of innovative practice developments:

  • Joint midwifery and chiropractic infant feeding clinic: Newborn infant feeding clinic
  • Student Midwives Integrated Learning Environment – also the focus for a PhD studentship

News from the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health:

Mothers, midwives and post-natal ‘blood’ loss

‘Blood’ loss after childbirth is a normal occurrence for women. Research undertaken by former Bournemouth University staff explores the prevention and early detection of the latter, which can result in chronic ill health and even the need for emergency medical care.