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

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. 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.

Logo for the UNICEF baby friendly gold initiative

The BSc Midwifery course is validated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), meeting their newest curriculum requirements for midwifery education.

This course is also accredited by Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative with the Gold Award for achieving the Baby-Friendly sustainability standards. This demonstrates how the midwifery team at Bournemouth University have committed to long term implementation, maintenance and progression of the Baby-Friendly Standards.

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 

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