WG2: Biomechanics


Working group two
Biomechanics (maternal and fetal movement)

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

Chair: Dr Anastasia Topalidou atopalidou@gmail.com
Co-chair: Slobodan Sekulic nadlak@yahoo.com

WG2 News

Press Release



Researchers from the ReaCH Unit (Research in Childbirth and Health Unit) in collaboration with Rinicare Ltd, a healthcare technology company based in Lancaster, announce the start of a new Innovate UK-funded feasibility project. For the first time in the world, the work will develop analytical software to interpret completely non-invasive, very low cost, real-time thermal images of the fetus in pregnancy and labour. Maternity teams around the world could use this software and data to understand and support normal pregnancy and birth, and, possibly, to reduce the over-use of potentially harmful and expensive interventions such as induction or acceleration of labour, when the baby is actually healthy.  The feasibility study will collect thermal images and develop software to visualise and study fetal activity and wellbeing.   The research team will explore the acceptability of this technology to women and maternity care staff in preparation for a larger study.

The project will run for 9 months.

WG2 profiles

anastasia photo1 crop

Anastasia Topalidou
Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete
Disciplinary background: Biomechanics, Bioengineering, Biological Measurements

Anastasia is a biomedical engineer specializing in the fields of orthopaedic biomechanics, musculoskeletal biomechanics, thermal imaging, biosignal processing, clinical engineering, neurophysiological monitoring and analysis and research protocols.

She completed her PhD at University of Crete – Faculty of Medicine. Her PhD Thesis is on the application of a non-invasive technique in the evaluation of postoperative rehabilitation of the spine. In 2010 she received her Master of Science in Health and Human Performance after completing the interdepartmental postgraduate M.Sc. Programme at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. In 2006 she received her Bachelor of Science from the Department of Physical Education and Sports Science, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Anastasia has won numerous scholarships, awards and honors and she has written several chapters in scientific books and peer-reviewed publications. She is an active member of highly active scientific and academic societies.

Her current research interests are: The use of thermal imaging in medical applications, exploration of innovative techniques and methods in the health sector, biomedical signals processing and analysis and e-health.

slobodan bw crop

Slobodan Sekulic
Department of Neurology, University Hospital, Medical Faculty Novi Sad
Disciplinary background: Medical doctor, Child neurologist, Senior research associate

Slobodan completed his studies at Medical University Novi Sad in 1993. In 1999 he completed his specialization to be a child neurologist. In 2007 he finished his PhD in neurology. He was promoted to senior research associate in 2012 year.

Working Group 2 members

Theodoros VRAKAS (Cyprus) tvrakas@tuv-nord.com

Anastasia Topidou (Greece) atopalidou@gmail.com University of Crete – Faculty of Medicine

George Tzagarakis (Greece) tzagarakis.george@gmail.com Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Greece

Chit Ying (Hong Kong) cylai@cuhk.edu.hk Chinese University of Hong Kong

Corine Verhoeven (Netherlands) c.verhoeven@vumc.nl Midw Sci, AVAG/EMGO+ Institute, VUmc

Dr Maria Healy (Northern Ireland) Maria.Healy@qub.ac.uk Queen’s University Belfast

Joan Lalor (Rep of Ireland) LALORJ1@tcd.ie Trinity College Dublin

Cristian Rotariu (Romania) cristian.rotariu@bioinginerie.ro University of Medicine & Pharmacy, Iasi

Dragos Nemescu (Romania) dnemescu@yahoo.com Uni of Med & PharmGr.T.Popa, Iasi

Hariton Costin (Romania) University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Iasi

Ivana Perin-Starevi (Serbia) ipericin@gmail.com Institute of Youth and Children Health Care

Sekulic Slobodan (Serbia) nadlak@yahoo.com University Hospital, Medical Faculty Novi Sad

Tereza Golenko  (Slovenia) tereza.golenko@gmail.com Self-employed

Oliver Christ (Switzerland) oliver.christ@fhnw.ch University of Applied Sc & Arts NW Switzerland

Münevver Yegül (Turkey) munevveryegul@gmail.com Ege University

Viola Nyman (Sweden) viola.nyman@vgregion.se Health and Care Sciences at University of Gothenburg

Dalia Balsyte (Switzerland) Dalia.balsyte@usz.ch University Hospital of Zurich, Clinic of Obstetrics

WG2 Reports

[NOTE: You can read all the reports from all the working groups on the Publications & Outputs page here]

WG2: Biomechanics

A “bridge” paper created by Anastasia Topalidou, Olga Gouni and Slobodan Sekulic has been published. It’s called The Contribution of Prenatal Psychology to Our Understanding about Prenatal Dynamics and Fetal Behaviour and you can download the pdf here. The paper has also been published in Psychology Research (Volume 6, Number 12, December 2016, Serial Number 66) by David Publishing Company. It is available from this link.

WG2 (Sept 2016): Get the report now. There is also a spreadsheet cost report available for WG2.

STSM report (Dec 2017): Report investigated by by George Tzagkarakis (hosted by WG2’s Maria Healy): An analysis of cardiotography (CTG) biosignals by utilising complexity algorithms to quantify, correlate and predict fetal movement. Download a pdf of it here.

WG2 review (Jan 2019): How do midwives facilitate women to give birth during physiological second stage of labour? A protocol for a systematic review. You can download it here.

Topalidou A., Downe S. Investigation of the use of thermography for research and clinical applications in pregnant. Infrared Physics and Technology, 2016; 7(2016):59-64 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1350449515301560

Sekulic S., Gebauer-Bukurov K., Cvijanovic M., Kopitovic A., Ilic D., Petrovic D., Capo I., Pericin-Starcevic I., Christ O., Topalidou A. Appearance of fetal pain could be associated with maturation of the mesodiencephalic structures. Journal of Pain Research, 2016; 9:1031-1038. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27881927

Healy, M. and Gillen, P. Planning birth in, and admission to a midwife-led unit: development of a GAIN evidenced based guideline, Evidenced based Midwifery, 2016;14(3), 82-86. https://www.rcm.org.uk/learning-and-career/learning-and-research/ebm-articles/planning-birth-in-and-admission-to-a-midwife

Gouni O, Sekulic S, Topalidou A. The contribution of prenatal psychology to our understanding about prenatal dynamics and fetal behaviour. Psychology Research, 2016;6(12):ISSN21595542. http://www.davidpublisher.org/index.php/Home/Article/index?id=29249.html

Topalidou A. and Ali N. “Infrared emotions and behaviours”: Thermal imaging in psychology. International Journal of Prenatal and Life Sciences 2017, 1(1):65-70 http://www.journalprenatalife.com/index.php/prenatal/article/view/40/5

Meier Magistretti C, Topalidou A. The face of salutogenesis: an interdisciplinary Swiss thermal imaging case report, Evidence Based Midwifery, 2017 15(3):83-88, pdf.

Djordje Petrovic, Aleksandar Kopitovic, Ivana Pericin-Starcevic, Miodrag Vujcic, Natasa Dragic, Olga Guoni, Anastasia Topalidou, Slobodan Sekulic. Guinea pig fetus does not change its presentation during second half of gestation. Slovenian Veterinary Research, 2017;54(3):133-138. https://www.slovetres.si/index.php/SVR/article/view/298


Midwives’ practices during the second stage of labour vary nationally and internationally. We aim to retrieve evidence that supports high-quality intrapartum care by conducting a systematic review of the literature.


Electronic bibliographic databases including PubMed, EMBASE.com, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PsycINFO, Maternity and Infant Care Database (through MIDIRS), and The Cochrane Library will be searched to identify studies that meet the inclusion criteria. No language or publication date constraints will be applied. Articles that pass the two-stage screening process will then be assessed for risk of bias and have their reference lists hand searched.


A midwife’s practice can be influenced by education and cultural practices but ultimately it should be informed by up-to-date research evidence. By analysing and synthesising the results of the studies, this systematic review will provide valuable insight into high-quality evidence-based midwifery care, which can inform practice, education and future research.