18/07/2012

A team of researchers, led by Professor of Nursing and Midwifery Cecily Begley at Trinity’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, has been awarded € 3 million in European Commission funding for a research project that addresses the widespread concern over rising Caesarean section rates throughout Europe. The OptiBIRTH team comprises 12 partner institutions from eight countries, and includes service users, midwives, obstetricians, neonatologists, epidemiologists, sociologists, psychologists, bioethicists, health economists and a 'high-tech' small industry.

The study examines the rising rates of Caesarean section throughout Europe, focusing in particular on routine Caesarean section following a previous Caesarean birth, despite calls for increased natural births after Caesareans. In comparison to Caesarean sections, natural births are associated with lower maternal mortality, less overall morbidity for mothers and babies, and are the preferred option for the majority of women. The rates for natural births in Ireland, Germany, and Italy are significantly lower (29-36%) than those in the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden (45-55%). The aim of the OptiBIRTH project is to increase natural birth rates in Ireland, Germany and Italy from 33% to 53% through a complex intervention designed to increase women-centered care and women's involvement in their care. The project will use a cluster randomised trial in each of the target countries, with 15 clusters of 94 women in each.

Professor of Nursing and Midwifery, Cecily Begley, lead researcher on the OptiBIRTH project.

The partner institutions include Trinity College Dublin; Association for Improvements in Maternity Services, UK; University of Gothenburg, Sweden; Zuyd University, The Netherlands; University of Eastern Finland, Finland; University of Ulster, UK; Entando, UK; Queen's University of Belfast, UK; Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Germany; National University Ireland, Galway, Ireland; Universita Degli Studi Di Genova, Italy; and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.

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