The Birth Place Lab

The Birth Place Lab (BPL), in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia facilitates community-based participatory research, and knowledge translation around equitable access to high quality maternity health care. The Birth Place Lab also supports multi-national, multi-disciplinary teams of researchers as they collaborate on both quantitative and qualitative research projects around health services, experience of care, provider attitudes, interprofessional collaboration, and access to physiologic birth across birth settings. Transdisciplinary research projects to date include the national, CIHR-funded Canadian Birth Place Study; and the Access and Integration Maternity care Mapping (AIMM) Study that examined associations between integration of midwives into health systems and maternal-newborn outcomes. Participatory studies include the Giving Voice to Mothers Study that established significant differences by race, type of provider, and place of birth in experiences of mistreatment during childbirth in the US, and Changing Childbirth in BC. In collaboration with a Community Steering Council, and a national multi-disciplinary team of clinicians and researchers, the BPL team is currently leading the RESPCCT study to examine respectful maternity care across Canada.

The BPL team includes researchers with expertise in instrument development and measurement; reproductive justice and maternity care workforce research; and innovative arts-based social justice KT. The team developed and validated three new quality measures: the Mistreatment in Childbirth (MIST) index, Mother’s Autonomy in Decision Making (MADM) scale, the Mothers on Respect (MOR) index, that are being applied across 23 countries to evaluate quality of maternity care at the institutional, system, and country levels.

Many of the BPL projects were generated by the Home Birth Summits (2011, 2013, 2014) which convened 150 national leaders to discuss improved integration of maternity care services for women and families who choose to deliver at home or in a birth center in the United States. Summit delegates represented diverse stakeholder perspectives and included consumers, family medicine, obstetricians, midwives, nurses, pediatricians, researchers, ethicists, educators, policy makers, legislators, health systems, payor and liability experts. Outcomes to date include the development and dissemination of Best Practice Guidelines for Transfer from Home to Hospital; development of an open source, online Person-Centred Decision Making Toolkit for Health Professionals on Collaborative Leadership; and multi-disciplinary provider attitudes towards place of birth (PAPHB-m).  The Summit outcomes were considered so significant and timely that the Summit proceedings and outcomes were read into the United States Congressional Record by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (November 2011).  Details available at: www.homebirthsummit.org.

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