[Editor’s Note: I’m absolutely thrilled to announce our newest regular contributor, Andrea Lythgoe. Andrea is a DONA-certified doula, hospital-based Lamaze childbirth educator, and instructor at the Midwives College of Utah. She is the author of the website UnderstandingResearch.com where she aims to help those just beginning to read research to understand the language of research. Look for the first article in her series tomorrow!- AMR]
“Are you sure that’s right? On the news last night, they said a study just proved that ……..”
“My doctor said that since there are no randomized controlled trials, it’s not safe.”
“Is it REALLY true that sex starts labor? Because last night on the news they said it did not, but last month on the news they said it did!”
As a childbirth educator and doula, I have run across these kinds of situations many times. It’s hard for expectant parents to understand what “the research says” when the headlines are their only source of information. In order to best help the families we serve, we should be as up to date as we can on current research. There are lots of excellent ways out there for birth professionals to stay caught up on the current research, but often it can be overwhelming to those just starting out.
I’ll be writing a series of articles here designed to help you learn the basics:
- How (and why) to find the actual research study when you hear about a study on the news, or from a student.
- Basic questions to consider when reviewing a study
- The various types of studies you may come across and which types might be most appropriate for research in pregnancy, birth and parenting.
- Classroom techniques for the educator to use when a birth-related study makes a big media splash.
- Simple statistics you should know. I promise there will be no math!
As the series progresses, please feel free to ask questions, suggest topics for future articles, and share your tips as well. I’m looking forward to this project!