Birthlight Womb to World Series (Study Days)
Maternal Emotions in Mother-Fetus-Baby Interactions: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Cambridge, 2 October 2010)
The first Birthlight’s Womb to World day conference focussed on the neurophysiology of maternal emotions and mother-baby interaction before birth, intrapartum and in the first year of life. Talks explored the implications of research on oxytocin, of new findings on placenta functions and possible links between prenatal maternal emotions and attachment. The scope for innovative positive interventions was also discussed in relation to infant feeding, prenatal and postnatal support.
Physiology to Ritual in cultures of birth and parenting (Cambridge, 7 May 2011)
The second in Birthlight’s ‘Womb to World’ conference series was twinned with a Wellcome Trust event in London called ‘Ritualising Birth’. Birthlight’s Cambridge series looked at the interface between science, medicine and social/cultural aspects of pregnancy, birth and early parenting. This event explored some examples of the complex relations between physiology and ritualised behaviour: swaddling versus movement of babies, interactive musicality, the Western adaptations of baby massage, research on colostrum, some current research on the placenta and finally the new role of doulas in births and the meanings that fathers give to cutting their babies’ cords, as an emergent birth ritual in the UK.
Facilitating physiological birth: evidence, practice, health outcomes for mothers, babies and families (Cambridge, 14 September 2013)
The aim was to bring together scientists, doctors and midwives, academic researchers, practitioners involved in maternity care in the hospital or in the community and also interested parents in order to explore apparent gaps between research and practice. Basically, why is the extensive research on the transition of babies from womb to world not translated into more widespread clinical and social applications? By improving communication across disciplines, thematic conferences can foster a greater understanding of the evidence on which care needs to be based as well as of social constraints for implementation of findings.
Creating community around birth: communication that makes a difference (Cambridge, 13 September 2014)
From the 2008 NICE guidelines to recent initiatives such as 1001 Days, the link between maternity care services and community support has often been mentioned but rarely implemented. Birthlight stems from community grassroots in Cambridge. Since the 1980s our aim has been to facilitate positive interactions between pregnant women, new mothers and new families, and care providers both in hospitals and in the community. We are now a wider circle ‘creating community’ in many different parts of the world. Our methods have evolved and improved but our ethos is unchanged. Scientific research has generated a great deal of evidence about the long-term implications of happy experiences of pregnancy, birth and early years for new families in society. This day conference explored a few simple and practical ways to enhance communication between maternity professionals and new families, both before and after babies are born.