Maternal Health and Wellbeing

Midwives' beliefs and concerns about telephone conversations with women in early labour

Project Duration

April 2013 – July 2013


Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Pump Priming Fund

Project Staff

  • Professor Helen Spiby 1
  • Anne Crompton 2
  • Dr George Bugg 2
  • Dr Denis Walsh 1
  • Professor Josephine Green 3

Staff Institutions

  1. The University of Nottingham
  2. Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  3. The University of York


There is a growing body of evidence that reflects women's dissatisfaction with telephone communications in early labour, including unmet needs for advice and support (Eri et al., 2009; Nolan and Smith, 2010). Systems such as telephone triage are increasingly utilised in maternity services, including the local service, where women have indicated that aspects of early labour care are unsatisfactory. Effective communication requires congruence between the needs and expectations of users and providers of maternity care and that cannot be achieved until midwives' perspectives are more clearly understood. 

This research aims to: 

  • explore midwives' concerns, experiences and perceptions of the purpose of telephone contacts with women in early labour
  • explore the characteristics of satisfactory and unsatisfactory conversations from the midwives' perspective


Single centre qualitative study in secondary care setting.

Stage of development


Outcomes and Findings

Spiby, H., et al. Midwives' beliefs and concerns about telephone conversations with women in early labour. Midwifery (2013).

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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