Annual Scientific Meeting April 2014

BSPOGA ASM 2014 (Manchester)

Biopsychosocial Issues in Pregnancy

Itinerary of Speakers




Challenges in the anenatal, intrapartum and postpartum care of women who use drugs and alcohol.
(Faye Macrory MBE, Consultant Midwife, Zion Community Resource Centre, Manchester


Reducing stress in childbirth: the benefits of hypnobirthing 
(Debby Gould, Associate Director, Measurement at Haelo, Salford)


The maternal-fetal relationship: what is it and how could it be measured? 
(Dr Zoe Darwin, Research Fellow, Department of Health Sciences, University of York)




Teenage motherhood and risk of premature death
(Professor Kathryn Abel, Professor of Psychological Medicine and Director of the Centre for Women's Mental Health, University of Manchester)


'After all your bad luck this year, I think you must be due to win the lottery!' Coping with stress in pregnancy: my story
(Beverley Turner, journalist, broadcaster, and writer)


Discussion - panel and audience




Psychotherapy during pregnancy and after birth: case studies
(Dr Alun Jones, Clinical Psychotherpist, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Visiting Professory of Psychotherapy, University of Chester)


Promoting mental health in pregnancy: the 'building resilence' approach
(Professor Mary Steen, Professor of Midwifery, University of Chester)


The development and impact of a bereavement support service
(Victoria Holmes and Emma Lane, Bereavement Widwives, St Mary's Hospital, Manchester)


Discussion - panel and audience



ASM 2014 Programme Notes


Pregnancy can be both an exciting and worrying time for the woman and her partner. Constant worry over
the baby’s health, fear of the unknown, problems relating to work, money or relationships, or other daily
pressures may make the woman feel overwhelmed. Maternal stress is associated with increased risk of
adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm labour and fetal growth restriction, and mental health
problems persisting after childbirth. Emotional dysregulation can also have an adverse effect on bonding
between mother and baby, during pregnancy and after birth. Unfortunately the majority of at-risk women
are not identified by their health professionals during pregnancy or postpartum. This Study Day presents
an overview of these issues and demonstrates some interventions that could be applied in routine
maternity care.

Hypnobirthing is a relatively new concept but is becoming a mainstream option. It comprises hypnosis
and neuro-linguistic programming, antenatal education, visualisation, and confidence building techniques
to help women and their birth partners. Debby Gould’s talk (with video presentation) will highlight some of
the techniques used and how clinicians can draw on this knowledge to better support women and partners.


Psychotherapy is a method of addressing troubling emotions along with life difficulties and relationship
struggles. Local community support and befriending approaches have been shown to be beneficial in
alleviating anxiety and depression. Professor Jones’ talk will describe how psychotherapy has been applied
in maternity care, and its impact.


There is increasing focus on the implications of ‘maternal-fetal attachment’ - the relationship between a
pregnant woman and her fetus – for maternal and fetal health. Dr Darwin’s presentation describes the
nature of this relationship and the various ways of measuring it. This is based on the PhD project that she
conducted at the antenatal clinic in St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester.


Victoria Holmes and Emma Lane won the "Dignity” award at ‘The Art and Science of Nursing and Midwifery
Practice’ 2013 conference, and have recently been nominated for the "We`re proud of you” awards. They
will describe their journey in developing a Bereavement service and present video clips of patient stories
as well as the feedback from bereaved parents on their experience of the bereavement service. This
presentation will be emotional, and moving but informative.


Faye Macrory’s presentation draws on her vast experience in managing and strategically developing a
pan-Manchester drugs and alcohol service. In 1997 she received an MBE for Services to Healthcare in
Manchester and, in 2003, was named Outstanding Achiever of the Year in the Health and Social Care
Awards at the Department of Health. The Service has also received commendations from the All Party
Parliamentary Group on Maternity, the Nursing Times Awards and the Greater Manchester NHS Awards.


Professor Mary Steen has over 25 years’ experience in midwifery and her research interests include
management of emotions and family relationships. She is a consultant to the charity S.T.O.P. (Start
Treating Others Positively) which aims to contribute to the reduction of domestic abuse. In this talk, she
describes an important approach to alleviating maternal stress: ‘building resilience’.


Perhaps resilience is one of the factors underlying the observation by Professor Kathryn Abel and
colleagues that women who were teenage mothers were around more likely to die prematurely and,
particularly, to die unnaturally? This talk will raise awareness of long-term problems of teenage


At the centre of it all is the woman (‘patient’). We are honoured to have the woman’s perspective from
Beverley Turner who has written on birth and sexual health for the Daily Telegraph for 13 years. Just 10
days after her husband, the Olympic rower James Cracknell, had a near-fatal accident while cycling in
America, she discovered that she was pregnant with their third child. But then she wasn't able to share the
news with James who was in intensive care. How did she cope with the stress? Find out at the meeting.