I have now been a Lecturer in Midwifery at Salford for 5 years after spending 30 years in practice. I really enjoy the challenges of teaching the next generation of midwives. In July this year I achieved my Professional Doctorate and still find it difficult to believe I have actually finished it! Being a doctorate student as a member of staff has been an interesting experience. I have found that the support of colleagues and supervisors has been invaluable, they have encouraged me to keep going, offered pearls of wisdom, even covering my work at crucial times. I cannot thank them all enough, particularly my supervisors. I have to admit it is quite stressful knowing all your inevitable ups and downs are played out in full view of colleagues but overall I feel it would have been more difficult to achieve my doctorate had I been working in an environment where they did not appreciate the effort and stress involved in completing a PhD.
My study was on the ‘Experiences of pregnant women receiving acupuncture from midwives’ using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The participants all attended a local midwifery acupuncture clinic, one of the very few NHS clinics in the UK. It was a real privilege to undertake the research. Using IPA enabled me to capture the women’s individual stories, providing context and helping to explain the physical, psychological and social effects of acupuncture as a treatment in pregnancy. Some of the women had quite remarkable physical and sensory responses, most reporting it as a not only a method of pain relief but as an enjoyable experience. Surprisingly they looked forward to its lasting relaxation effect. Even women who found the treatment a little uncomfortable continued to attend recognising the pain relief it offered. One women described the effect as being ” like eating chocolate but lasting for a lot longer”. study is unique as there are only two other qualitative studies published to-date which explore the use of acupuncture in pregnancy and none use IPA. My study establishes acupuncture as an acceptable treatment for pregnant women helping them cope with the common conditions of pregnancy such as pelvic girdle and lower back pain. Conducting the study has increased my confidence in promoting the development of acupuncture services within maternity care. Undertaking the Professional Doctorate has also led me to develop partnerships, working with medical acupuncture colleagues and the British Medical Acupuncture Society. We are now delivering training for acupuncturists on treating pregnant women and specific study days for midwives teaching them to use acupuncture for pain relief in labour. This collaboration aims to establish intrapartum acupuncture throughout UK maternity services.
In February this year I along with mental health nurse colleague Lisa Bluff launched a new masters module on Perinatal Mental Health (Mother, Infant & Family). The module has specialist psychiatrist, psychologist and user input and is receiving very positive evaluations. Students from the February and September cohorts include those travelling from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Leeds, Liverpool and Southport making it clear the module is both needed and one of the few available within the UK. I am very excited as in January I am off to Berne to present at a Perinatal Mental Health Conference reporting on development of this module. If you would like any further information about the module please contact myself, Lisa or Helen Cameron.
Lastly I am singing in the Manchester Hospitals Choir on Monday 30th November and Tuesday 1st December at the Bridgewater Hall. All proceeds go to the children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent. I am hoping it will get me in the mood for Christmas, come along if you get the chance.
I wish you all a great Christmas and 2016!
Dr Jeanne Lythgoe
Lecturer in Midwifery/ Supervisor of Midwives/ School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work and Social Sciences
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