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Maternal-Child Health Systems

Guide Overview

Welcome to the Maternal-Child Health Research Guide

This guide highlights a variety of reliable resources pertaining to Maternal-Child Health Systems. The systems approach to maternal and child health moves beyond a single service care model to a more "humanistic, holistic, rights-based and equitable" approach (BU MA in Maternal and Child Health program description).

The Bastyr University library's digital resources include research databases linked to full text journal articles, eBooks, and other online tools; we've also highlighted useful websites. Your librarians are available to answer your questions via phone, chat, and email.  You can also set up a remote meeting for more in-depth research assistance. 

Be sure to check out our "How To" Guides to help you get started with search skills, writing and citation tips.

Research - Known Issues and On-going Debates

This introduction to some of the issues and on-going debates is intended to prompt further inquiry and critical evaluation of what you find – and don’t find – in the research. It is not a comprehensive overview of the field or the state of the research in the field. Librarians are available to help you explore the research, and help you answer questions about the context of that research. Many of the issues in the field of maternal and child health overlap with midwifery. However, the former focuses on leadership and systemic issues relating to childbirth and the year following.  

  • There is disagreement as to what constitutes natural childbirth versus a medicalized one.1 In addition, there are different types of midwifery programs. BU midwifery students earn an MSM while some institutions offer a nurse-midwife program.   
  • Grand Midwives were the caregivers, healers and birth attendants for slaves in the South. Their legacy has often been forgotten.2
  • The practice of midwifery in other countries differs from the profession in the US; when reading studies, ensure you are aware of the national context they are written in. 
  • Systemic racism results in lower healthy birth outcomes for BIPOC.3
  • Most midwives in the US are white which negatively impacts healthcare to BIPOC.3
  • Randomized controlled trials, “are often unethical in maternity care." 4
  1. Martucci J. Beyond the Nature/Medicine Divide in Maternity Care. AMA J Ethics. 2018;20(12): E1168-E1174. doi:10.1001/amajethics.2018.1168 
  2. Likis FE. Racism, Racial Bias, and Health Disparities: Midwifery's Work Continues. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2018;63(4):393-394. doi:10.1111/jmwh.12893 
  3. Wren Serbin J, Donnelly E. The impact of racism and midwifery's lack of racial diversity: a literature review. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2016;61(6):694-706. doi:10.1111/jmwh.12572 
  4. Reed R. Research (Bias) and Maternity Care. Midwife thinking blog. Posted January 23, 2017. Updated July 2019. Accessed April 12, 2021.  

Digital Access: We've got you covered!

Learning has many components and your library is just one (but very important):

Library + LMS (learning management system) + you = knowledge!

Created by Cindl, CC license.

Not on campus? Not a problem!

Students can get help from the library without coming to campus.  You can also set up a phone appointment for more in-depth help.  See ways to contact us in the box on the right.

Social Justice

"...all of the courses [in the Maternal-Child Health Systems curriculum] examine theory and practical application through the social justice lens." (BU course descriptions)

Created by Rikki's Refuge, CC license.


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