Maternal Health and Wellbeing

Promoting mental wellbeing through preparation for labour

Project Duration

January 2013 - December 2014


Bupa Foundation – Medical Research Charity

Project Staff

  • Prof Helen Spiby 1
  • Dr Kim Watts 1
  • Prof Pauline Slade 2
  • Assoc Prof Kirsty Hyndes 1
  • Naomi Watkins 3
  • Jane Stewart 1
  • Anita Hughes 1
  • Julie Corden 1

Staff Institutions

  1. The University of Nottingham
  2. The University of Liverpool
  3. PPI representative - Sheffield


There are five distinct objectives and a sixth overarching objective. These will be addressed by undertaking two research studies and a service evaluation. 

Study 1: The research objectives are to:

  1. Prospectively identify needs, expectations and preferences for preparation for labour amongst the first time parents from the following groups (women drawn from the general population of pregnant women, young pregnant women, pregnant women from minority ethnic communities (including asylum-seeking women) and fathers)
  2. Retrospectively determine the extent to which current preparation for labour meets identified needs and expectations.

Study 2: The research objective is to:

  1. Identify gaps in women's preparation for labour as observed by midwives providing care to labouring women. 

Study 3: The service evaluation objectives are to:

  1. Identify the range and frequency of different approaches to preparation for labour including innovative models, organisation, content and facilitation by providers, including provision for young women, asylum-seekers and those from minority ethnic communities and fathers.
  2. Determine the extent to which the Department of Health 'Birth and Beyond' Toolkit has been utilised, its impact and associated barriers and facilitators.

Overarching objective:

  1. To synthesise the findings from the above objectives with particular reference to the evidence base, to develop a set of checklists against which providers can evaluate their preparation for labour for designated groups.


Study 1: Service Users: focus group study taking place in Nottingham (pilot) Leicester, Sheffield and Tower Hamlets London.

Study 2: Service Provider: Focus group study of midwives taking place in Nottingham (pilot) Leicester, Sheffield and Tower Hamlets London.

Study 3: Service Providers: Two part national questionnaire survey, and one to one telephone interviews.

Stage of Development

Data collection in progress.

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Contact for further information

Helen Spiby




Maternal Health and Wellbeing Research Group

The University of Nottingham
School of Health Sciences
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2HA

telephone: +44 (0)115 823 0820