Global Midwifery Research Priorities: An International Survey

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Abstract

PURPOSE:

This exploratory project aimed to provide an up-to-date list of global midwifery research priorities to inform the International Confederation of Midwives' (ICM) research strategy for development of its research agenda.

DESIGN:

An online survey conducted in 2014 asked ICM Research Advisory Networking members (who then disseminated it to a wider midwifery research interest group) to grade the importance of research priorities and provide further suggestions. Research priorities listed were based on those identified in previous scoping exercises and a recent literature review.

FINDINGS:

Two hundred seventy-one respondents from 37 countries completed the questionnaire including midwifery practitioners, researchers, lecturers, and service providers. Promotion of normal birth, prevention of maternal and fetal/neonatal morbidity and mortality, and psychosocial aspects of maternity care were identified by the respondents as the top three important themes. Subanalysis by country, region, and continent found promotion of normal birth the greatest priority in more resourced regions, whereas prevention of maternal and fetal/neonatal morbidity and mortality was the most important research priority in less resourced locations.

CONCLUSION:

This study provides a systematic global mapping of research priorities from midwives' perspectives which will inform the ICM research agenda. Geographical variation in key research priorities reflect midwives working in very different settings with specific local health and resource related challenges such as staff shortages, human immunodeficiency virus, or obesity. Future research should aim to address these priorities to improve maternal and infant health. Limited number of respondents from some geographical areas should be borne in mind when interpreting the global implications and further research with an optimized scoping for inclusion is required to ensure adequate representativeness from all countries.

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