Working group five
Neuro-psycho-social characteristics and effects of labour events.
Observational studies of neuro-psycho-social characteristics and effects of labour events, with a particular emphasis on the effect of personal interactions and behaviors within and between maternity care staff and laboring women and their families on neurohormones specific to labour processes.
Subgroup one: Oxytocin release during physiological childbirth in humans: a systematic review
Many of the physiological and hormonal processes that occur during labour are not fully understood. It is, however, acknowledged that the hormone oxytocin plays important role. Oxytocin is not only a hormone, it is also a signaling substance in the brain that, when released during birth, skin-to-skin contact, and breastfeeding, induces important physiological and psychological adaptions in the mother and infant (Uvnäs-Moberg, 2003). The one oxytocin receptor most commonly demonstrated is the uterine type of oxytocin receptor but it is likely that there are other oxytocin receptors due to different oxytocin-like effects (Freund-Mercier et al, 1987).
The implication of the neuropeptide oxytocin on mothers and offsprings has been well documented in mammals but there is little evidence to support such links in humans (Uvnäs-Moberg et la, 1990, Feldman et al, 2010). Motherhood/parenting involves interrelated biological, psychological, and behavioral care giving mechanisms and humans as social animals are biologically prepared to form bonds with their babies. These bonds provide protection and caregiving, ensure survival, and offer soothing during times of distress (Levine et al, 2007). Endogenous oxytocin can be released by stimulation of olfaction, as well as by certain types of sound and light. This means that positive interaction involving touch, warmth, empathy and psychological support may be health-promoting (Uvnäs-Moberg, 1997). Therefore, Working Group 5-1 aims is to increase scientific knowledge regarding oxytocin release during physiological childbirth in humans first through a systematic review of the literature in this field. In the next year, Working Group 5-1 plan to continue with applied research.
Subgroup 2: The psychology of childbirth
Midwives face the complex challenge of bringing together different knowledge on how to keep birth normal. The importance of women’s psychological status throughout the childbearing experience is now well acknowledged (Jomeen, 2012). Childbirth is a profound psychological experience with a deep impact in women, an impact that is physical, psychical and existential. The concept of normal labour is still subject of much debate. Traditionally the definition of “normal childbirth” has included the word “physiological” and usually mentioned the lack of interventions as a must. Normal childbirth is generally considered to be a sequential process that leads to the fetus being expelled from the womb. Normal childbirth is also considered to have a spontaneous onset, and timing and progress are crucial aspects of the definition of normality. Labour progress is evaluated with only “objective” measures such as cervical dilation or contractions pattern as recorded in the partogram proposed by the WHO. However in almost all definitions retrieved of normal labour or childbirth the psychological aspects of birth are excluded. Normal birth is a physiological AND a psychological process but its deep and profound psychological aspects are not mentioned in the definitions, which can give the impression birth is only something purely mechanical. This reductionist definition is likely to be related to some of the current problems with childbirth.
WG-5 subgroup 2 aim is to study and describe the psychological process and experiences of natural childbirth. To answer the research question: What is the psychological experience of natural childbirth like and what are its components; we will start by reviewing women’s experiences of normal or natural childbirth published in the scientific literature. .Once we describe the psychological experience of childbirth from both women’s and professionals perspectives we will analyse childbirth related psychopathology i.e. birth related trauma and PPD.
Childbirth is ours (El Parto es Nuestro)
Disciplinary background: MD, PhD Perinatal Psychiatrist
Ibone’s research has focused on the effects of intrapartum synthetic oxytocin use, perinatal neurobiological disorders and obstetric violence.
She has done extensive clinical work on PTSD due to childbirth, perinatal mental disorders, birth professionals’ mental health and breastfeeding support.
Ibone is also a birth rights activist.
A link (external) detailing Ibone’s work: click on this link.
Cyprus University of Technology
Disciplinary background: Midwifery educator, Special scientific officer
Eleni is a midwifery educator and finished her PhD in Midwifery 2012. Her research interests are: Birth rights, advocacy in midwifery, normal birth.
She was the main researcher in four projects and participated in two EU funded projects – YSAV and BREAST.
Working Group 5 members
You can read profiles about the members of this group on this by downloading this pdf here.
Eleni Hadjigeorgiou (Cyprus) firstname.lastname@example.org Cyprus University of Technology
Andria Spyridou (Cyprus) email@example.com European University Cyprus
Luise Lengler (Germany) firstname.lastname@example.org Hannover medical school
Sigfríður Inga Karlsdóttir (Iceland) email@example.com University of Akureyri
Sigridur Sia Jonsdottir (Iceland) firstname.lastname@example.org University of Akureyri
Yael Benyamini (Israel) email@example.com Social Work at the Tel Aviv University
Giedre Sirvinskiene (Lithuania) firstname.lastname@example.org Lithuanian University of Health Sciences
Svitrigaile Grinceviciene (Lithuania) email@example.com
Steffi Savona Ventrura (Malta) firstname.lastname@example.org
Marianne Nieuwenhuijze (Netherlands) M.Nieuwenhuijze@AV-M.nl Research Centre for Midwifery Science
Tanja Vrijkotte (Netherlands) email@example.com Acad Med Center (AMC) Public Health
Zada Pajalic (Norway) Zada.firstname.lastname@example.org Department of Health, Nutrition & Management
Alicja Kotlowska (Poland) email@example.com Medical University of Gdansk
Bogumila Kielbratowska (Poland) firstname.lastname@example.org Medical University of Gdansk
Magdalena Blazek (Poland) email@example.com Medical University of Gdansk
Maria Kazmierczak (Poland) firstname.lastname@example.org University of Gdansk
Patricia Leahy-Warren (Republic of Ireland) email@example.com UCC
Janka Debreceniova (Slovakia) firstname.lastname@example.org Citizen Democracy and Accountability
Esther Crespo (Spain) email@example.com Barcelona Hospital
Fátima Leon Larios (Spain) Fatimaleon@us.es Faculty of Nursing, Seville
Luis Joaquin Garcia-Lopez (Spain) firstname.lastname@example.org University of Jaen
Ibone Olza Fernandez (Spain) email@example.com Childbirth is ours (El Parto es Nuestro)
Pedro J Serrano-Castro (Spain) firstname.lastname@example.org Hospital Torrecardenas
Elisabeth Hertfelt Wahn (Sweden) email@example.com University of Skövde
Anette Ekström (Sweden) Anette.firstname.lastname@example.org University of Skövde
Christina Nilsson (Sweden) email@example.com
Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg (Sweden) firstname.lastname@example.org
Amali Lokugamage (UK) email@example.com University College London
Professor Bengt Lindstrom (Norway) firstname.lastname@example.org Institute of Social Work and Health, NTNU
Professor Sandra Morano email@example.com Genoa University/Genoa University Hospital
Professor Dr. Claudia Meier Magistretti (Switzerland) firstname.lastname@example.org The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts
Julia Leinweber (Germany) email@example.com Protestant University of Applied Science, Freiburg
Ms Susanne Grylka-Baeschlin (Switzerland) firstname.lastname@example.org Zurich University of Applied Sciences
Dr Margaret Murphy (Rep of Ireland) email@example.com School of Nursing & Midwifery, University College Cork, Ireland
[NOTE: You can read all the reports from all the working groups on the Publications & Outputs page here]
WG5: Neuro-psycho-social perspectives. Download a report on Neuro-psycho-social characteristics and effects of labour events here. And here is a pdf of WG5 members who have worked on this project. (Updated Jan 2017)
Meier Magistretti, Soo Downe, Marie Berg and Katharina Tritten-Schwarz have published their research entitled: Setting the Stage for Health: Salutogenesis in Midwifery Professional Knowledge in Three European Countries. You can download it here.
WG5 (Sept 2016): Get this report here.