Life Events Research Paper – ‘Having a Baby’

The Commission for Rural Communities commissioned a Life Events research paper on ‘Having a baby’, with NPEU and NCT working together on this project.

The objective was to bring together information on service needs and provision in rural areas in relation to the major life event of pregnancy and childbirth, including previous work focusing on the diverse needs of rural communities.

As a review of current practice and research, the paper formed part of a larger project looking in depth at the service needs and adequacy of delivery responses following five other major life events in rural areas. Major life events act as entry points into a complex service setting and many providers are commonly involved, needs are multiple, complicated and can overlap different areas of service delivery.

Providing maternity services in rural areas presents many challenges. The key issues in delivering care to women and families in rural areas are location and accessibility, the range of services provided and staff able to provide the care.

The paper presents what is known of the evidence base on users’ needs and maternity services in rural communities with the aim of being used inform further research on the topic. It supplies contextual, background and research evidence about maternity services, the guidelines for these and more broadly, highlights some of the gaps in knowledge that are pertinent to the study. Thus the mixture of needs which change over time from pregnancy through childbirth and postnatal care, over approximately a twelve month period for any woman and her family are reflected in the report.

The Team

Rachel Rowe (NPEU), University of Oxford.

Julie Jomeen,Midwifery and Women's Health, University of Hull.

Mary Newburn and Vanita Bhavnani, the National Childbirth Trust (NCT).

The report was completed by the research team at the end of 2009.