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Welcome to the Midwifery Research Guide

This guide is an introduction to finding information pertaining to topics within the field of Midwifery.  This guide aims to provide starting points and searching tips for a variety of resources that will help both students in our midwifery program, and students interested in researching birth and birth professions.

Things to note for our Midwifery students:

  • Circulation Policies:  Midwifery students have a one month loan period for books, to accommodate onsite schedules.
  • Students can get help from the library without coming to campus.  You can also set up a video appointment for more in-depth help.

Be sure to check out our "How To" Guides to help you get started with search skills, writing and citation tips.  Our How To Guides also include a guide dedicated to students embarking on Thesis or Master's Projects!


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

  • 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. 


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