As a working group, our team of maternal and child health experts share their results widely with national and international publications, conference papers, and through close contact with clinical practitioners. Attention to ethical standards in study-design and implementation has been and still is a particular concern of all team members. Our team works strictly independent of pharmaceutical and infant formula research funding.
The Maternal Health Research Unit with its salutogenetic approach to women’s reproductive health is unique in Germany. We have built collaboration with national women`s health and midwifery experts, and we participate with Maternal & Child Health units in Europe and North America.
Central to our multidisciplinary research interests are the following goals and objectives:
Promoting mothers’ health from the beginning of pregnancy through the early years of motherhood
Prevention of avoidable morbidity and mortality
Promoting evidence-based treatment and WHO guidelines for care in normal birth
Empowering families during these crucial family building years
Our focus on maternal health and well-being (instead of focus on disease) has led to studies on the relationship between:
emotional well-being and the prevention of preterm birth
social support and maternal well-being
breastfeeding and maternal health
physical activity during pregnancy and weight regulation
Additionally, one of our studies analyzed a data set of more than 1 million births in Lower Saxony. The results of this study show that normal birth is a vanishing type of delivery: Less than 7% of all births today have no medical intervention. Another study found that rising C-section rates are driven more by anxieties and hospital convenience than by maternal request. Our midwifery research includes a study on the history of midwifery education as well as studies of new models of care (e.g. midwife-led units) and the promoting of “High Touch - Low Tech Care” for normal birth in all birthplaces.
Our research is based on the bio-psycho-social model of health and illness. In conjunction with this theoretical background, biomedical, epidemiological, social science, mixed (quantitative and qualitative) and critical analytical methodologies are employed.