cost action logo is1405

Contact: Marie-Clare Balaam MBalaam@uclan.ac.uk

The aim of Action

This BIRTH (Building Intrapartum Research Through Health) 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


Core group members:
Professor Soo Downe SDowne@uclan.ac.uk
Ramón Escuriet rescuriet@catsalut.cat
Professor Mechthild Gross gross.mechthild@mh-hannover.de
Jean Calleja-Agius jean.calleja-agius@um.edu.mt
Dr Anastasia Topalidou atopalidou@gmail.com
Slobodan Sekulic nadlak@yahoo.com
Dr Lucy Frith frith@liverpool.ac.uk
Dr Joanne White jowhite67@yahoo.co.uk
Deirdre Daly dalyd8@tcd.ie
Laura Lanuzzi laura.iannuzzi@unifi.it
Dr Ibone Olza Fernández olzafernandez@gmail.com
Eleni Hadjigeorgiou eleni.hadjigeorgiou@cut.ac.cy
Olga Gouni info@cosmoanelixis.gr
Professor Dr. Claudia Meier Magistretti claudia.meiermagistretti@hslu.ch

Chair of Action Professor Soo Downe

soo downe

Professor Soo Downe SDowne@uclan.ac.uk
University of Central Lancashire
Disciplinary background: Midwifery

Soo worked for 15 years as a clinical midwife before joining the UK University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in 2001, where she is now the Professor of Midwifery Studies.

Her research focus is the nature of, and cultures around, normal birth. She is particularly interested in the potential for unique insights from inter-disciplinary examination of the nature of physiological labour and birth from a wide range of perspectives.

Among other funded projects, Soo chaired the recent COST Action IS1907 (iR4B), and she currently chairs EU COST Action IS1405 (BIRTH). She introduced the concepts of salutogenesis and complexity into midwifery in her edited book on normal childbirth in 2004.

Soo is a member of the executive group for the recent Lancet Series on Midwifery, of the steering group of the current Lancet Series on Stillbirth, and of the WHO Technical Working Group on antenatal guidelines. She has used a wide range of methods in her research, from randomised controlled trials to Action Research and phenomenology.

Vice chair of Action Ramón Escuriet

Ramón Escuriet bw

Ramón Escuriet rescuriet@catsalut.cat
Directorate for Planning and Health Research of the Ministry of Health of the Government of Catalonia 

Currently working in the Directorate for Planning and Health Research of the Ministry of Health of the Government of Catalonia in Spain. He coordinates the Program for normal birth care in public hospitals in the region. His work implies a wide range of activities aimed to improve health care quality in the health system.

Ramon recently completed a PhD in Biomedicine (see below).

Marie-Clare Balaam

marie-clare balam

Marie-Clare Balaam
University of Central Lancashire
Disciplinary background: History/women’s studies/midwifery researcher

Marie-Clare’s background is in History and Women’s Studies. She has worked as a lecturer and an academic and community based researcher. She currently works as a Research Assistant at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), UK.

Her research interests are migrant women’s experiences of maternity care and childbirth in the UK and Europe, social support and historical and socio-cultural perspectives on women’s health particularly menopause. Her current research is focused on the experiences of asylum seeking and refugee women and social support for marginalised women.

About COST

Cost logo 2 blue 300dpi

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. http://www.cost.eu

Important links on the COST website:

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

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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