Maternity Support Survey – Critical Research on Under-Studied Maternity Roles
I’d like to draw your attention to a very important study that is currently looking for participants – The Maternity Support Survey. This comprehensive study is the first to compare doulas, childbirth educators, and labor and delivery nurses, working in the United States and Canada, in terms of their approach to maternal support and care. The survey explores these individuals’ knowledge and attitudes toward current childbirth practices, technologies and support. Now is your opportunity to share how you view your responsibilities. This research team wants to hear from you!
The team behind the research has been working for over two years via conference calls to develop the survey and methodology. The research team consists of Louise M. Roth, PhD, (Principal Investigator), Christine Morton, PhD (Co-PI and regular contributor to this blog), Marla Marek, RNC, BSN, MSN, PhD(c), Megan Henley, Nicole Heidbreder BSN, MA, Miriam Sessions, Jennifer Torres, and Katie Pine, PhD. They are sociologists and nurses, working in California, Arizona, Washington DC, Michigan, and Wyoming. To raise funds for the project, they launched an Indiegogo campaign and have been featured on the Every Mother Counts blog. The Maternity Support Survey has been approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Arizona, and Louise M. Roth, PhD, is the Principal Investigator of the study.
I’m sure the readers of this blog are aware that research has shown that support during labor and delivery has a significant impact on method of delivery, maternal and neonatal morbidity, and rates of postpartum depression. Yet existing research in maternity care has largely focused on how mothers and families view their care or on the perspectives of midwives and obstetricians, with less attention to the views of individuals who provide support to women during pregnancy and birth. The Maternity Support Survey is addressing this need.
Topics that the survey investigates include: whether doulas and childbirth educators view their maternity support work as a career, how doulas and childbirth educators establish their expertise, how technology affects workload among labor and delivery nurses, how maternity support workers are affected by managed care and litigation concerns, and emotional burnout among maternity support workers.
The Maternity Support Survey has partnered with Lamaze International and the following organizations in the recruitment of participants: Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN); Birthing from Within; International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA); BirthWorks; DONA International; toLABOR (formerly ALACE); and CAPPACanada. These organizations felt that this research was important enough to reach out to their collective members with a request for participation.
The survey launched in November 2012 – the organizations above sent emails to their members, along with monthly reminders. By early mid January 2013, the survey had logged 1500 responses, with relatively equal numbers of each group responding. Then, the research team decided to extend the reach of the survey to those doulas, CBEs and L&D nurses BEYOND the membership organizations. A viral social media blitz ensued, with positive results. Within a week, the survey logged an additional 600 responses. As of January 21, 2013, the survey has been completed by just over 2100 respondents. Doulas now comprise about 44%, with L&D nurses at 35% and CBEs at 33% of the total respondents. The survey will be open through mid-March, so there is still time to share widely among your networks. Data cleaning will happen in April, and analysis will begin in May 2013. The researchers plan to disseminate their findings at conferences and publish in journals of interest to these occupational groups as well as in sociology and other fields.
Those of you who are members of these organizations may have already received an email with a link to the survey (and hopefully have already completed it). However, if you are not a member of one of these national organizations OR have NOT received an email from your organization inviting you to take the survey, here’s how you can share your views:
The survey is available online for US residents here.
The survey is available online for Canadian residents here.
The survey takes approximately 30 minutes to complete, and participation is entirely voluntary. The research team will NOT have any way of personally identifying you or your responses, and will not contact you for any purposes unrelated to this survey or give your information to any commercial organizations. For questions or feedback, please contact Louise M. Roth, PhD.