COST Action IS1405


Getting maternity care right for mothers and babies is vital for all countries and societies. It is important to reduce avoidable deaths and ill health.

However, it is also crucial that interventions designed to reduce risk for the few mothers and babies who develop complications are not used for mothers and babies who are healthy. Over use of interventions and drugs routinely can be harmful, and uses up resources that should be focused on those who need them.

Despite this, there are very high, and highly-variable rates of childbirth interventions across Europe, that, in some countries, are way above the safe levels proposed by the World Health Organisation.

Part of the problem is that there has not been much research on what makes childbirth go well (as opposed to what makes it go wrong).

The BIRTH COST Action brings together over 100 scientists, artists, professionals, activists, political stakeholders and service users from around 30 countries in Europe and beyond, to try to understand the range and limits of normal childbirth physiology in different populations, individuals, and contexts. It includes five key areas:

  1. Biomedicine (epigenetics and the hygiene hypothesis)
  2. Biomechanics (maternal and fetal movement)
  3. Socio-cultural perspectives (social expectations and experiences, including marginalised and migrant populations)
  4. Organizational perspectives (the effect of organizational contexts and cultures on variation in rates of childbirth interventions)
  5. Neuro-psycho-social perspectives (how inter-personal actions and behaviours affect physiological processes)
    Click on the links above to find out more about what we are doing, and planning to do, in each of these areas.

cost action is1405, eu birth research

Building Intrapartum Research Through Health – an interdisciplinary whole system approach to understanding and contextualising physiological labour and birth (BIRTH)

Welcome to the EU Birth Research website. You will find all the information you need about the EU Birth Research project, which is a COST Action project.

(scroll down for list of working groups map of members’ locations)

There are six Working Groups in the project. You can view information on all of these, plus details on the Short Term Scientific Mission (STSM) and Early Career Investigators (ECI) groups, by clicking on the relevant links (below or via the Menu tab).

You can also view the role and members of the Core Group and the Management Committee on the COST website here.

The Working Groups

Below is a list of the six working groups, plus information on the other groups associated with the project.

Working group one:
Epigenetics and the hygiene hypothesis in relation to intrapartum events, and associations with longer term non-communicable diseases.

Working group two:
The mechanics and bioengineering of pregnancy and labour, including the nature and consequences of, and synergies between, maternal and fetal movement.

Working group three:
Social-cultural perspectives
Socio-cultural phenomenon that contextualize labour and birth, including the effects of dissonance between dominant cultural social expectations and those of marginalized groups such as migrant women.

Working group four:
Organizational perspectives
Organizational characteristics, contexts, cultures and economic costs of variation in rates of interventions in childbirth.

Working group five:
Neuro-psycho-social perspectives
Neuro-psycho-social characteristics and effects of labour events.

Working group six:
To synthesise and disseminate the evidence from WG 1-5 to scientific, clinical, managerial, opinion leaders, policy makers and service user stakeholders.

Short Term Scientific Mission (STSM)
Links and guidelines.

Early Career Investigators
The Early Career Investigators’ Think Tank (ECI) aims to support researchers involved in active research and co-publications.

View the role and members of the Core Group and the Management Committee on the COST website here.

Map of researchers

This map shows the locations of all the researchers involved in the EU Research Birth project.

Rules for joining Action

Text here about rules for joining the Action.

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COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) is a pan-European intergovernmental framework. Its mission is to enable break-through scientific and technological developments leading to new concepts and products and thereby contribute to strengthening Europe’s research and innovation capacities.
It allows researchers, engineers and scholars to jointly develop their own ideas and take new initiatives across all fields of science and technology, while promoting multi- and interdisciplinary approaches. COST aims at fostering a better integration of less research intensive countries to the knowledge hubs of the European Research Area. The COST Association, an International not-for-profit Association under Belgian Law, integrates all management, governing and administrative functions necessary for the operation of the framework. The COST Association has currently 36 Member Countries.

Important links on the COST website:

Overview on all the past and running Actions on the COST website.

You can download the Action’s Memorandum of Understanding here: IS1405-e.

These are the COST rules and guidelines.

The role and members of the Core Group and the Management Committee can be seen here on the COST website.


COST is supported by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020

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