Midwifery and Normal Birth Research Group

The Midwifery and Normal Birth Research Group promotes and protects normal childbirth through research and collaboration.


The Midwifery and Normal Birth Research Group will undertake and foster research activities which support, promote and protect normal birth.


The Midwifery and Normal Birth Research Groups will;

  • Have a focused research plan which develops research excellence and expertise
  • Encourage research collaborations locally, nationally and internationally with midwifery researchers and across disciplines
  • Engage with and support local communities and women’s groups with an interest in improving the experience of childbirth
  • Encourage graduate student research in areas related to the promotion of normal birth
  • Publish and disseminate research findings in national and international peer reviewed journals and conferences.


  • Professor Maralyn Foureur
  • Dr Sue Lennox
  • Associate Professor Denis Walsh
  • Professor Soo Downe
  • Professor Declan Devane
  • Professor Debra Davis
  • Dr Andrew Symons
  • Dr Jeanie Douché
  • Dr Joan Skinner

Midwifery and Normal Birth Research Group activities

  • ‘Shut up and Write’—monthly gathering of midwifery researchers to discuss, debate, collaborate and write
  • Member of the CCDHB Women’s Health Service Clinical Audit and Research committee—monthly meetings
  • Midwifery Research Seminars—biannually
  • Focus on Research—monthly spot in the Wellington Region NZCOM newsletter

Recent research

A maternal probiotic intervention for infant allergic disease prevention:RCT

To find out if by giving pregnant women a specific probiotic this can stop infants developing eczema and allergy and help pregnant women's health by preventing vaginal infections such as Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and Group B Streptococcus (GBS), and gestational diabetes.

Research team: Dr Kristin Wickens Otago University (Wellington), Professor Julian Crane, Dr Thorsten Stanley, Professor Edwin Mitchell, Dr Peter Abels, Ms Christine Barthow, Dr Penny Fitzharris, Mr Gordon Purdie, & Dr Robyn Maude

Assessing birth spaces: Using the BUDSET tool in three New Zealand birth facilities

Research team: Dr Joan Skinner, Dr Robyn Maude & Prof Maralyn Foureur

Evaluation of the sustainability of Intelligent Structured Intermittent Auscultation (ISIA) framework for fetal heart monitoring for low risk women

Research team: Dr Robyn Maude

Frequency of intermittent auscultation of the fetal heart during labour: A randomised controlled trial

The frequency of intermittent auscultation has never been tested under trial conditions. This trial will compare IA frequencies of 15 minutes and 30 minutes for low risk women looking at maternal and fetal outcomes.

Research team: Dr Robyn Maude and collaborators in NZ, Australia and UK, NZCOM

Referral for obstetric consultation rates and reasons

This research follows up on 2001 data to examine what, if any, change has occurred in how midwives now make obstetric referrals.

Research team: Dr Joan Skinner and Dr Robyn Maude

The TUB (Testing Underwater Birth) study

Research team: H. Dahlen, S. Tracy, S. Kildea, C. Homer, V. Schmied, M. Foureur, E. Burns, M. Tracy, A. Welsh, C. Thornton and Dr Robyn Maude

For more information about the Midwifery and Normal Birth Research Group, please contact: