United Kingdom


Country Coordinator

Marie-Clare Balaam mbalaam@uclan.ac.uk

Marie-Clare currently works as a research associate in the Midwifery department at the University of Central Lancashire, UK. Marie-Clare’s background is in History and Women’s Studies. She has worked as a lecturer and an academic and community based researcher. Her research interests are; migrant women’s experiences of maternity care and childbirth in the UK and Europe, social support, and historical and socio-cultural perspectives on women’s health particularly menopause. Her current research focuses on the experiences of asylum seeking and refugee women and social support for marginalised women. She is a member of the steering committee for Babies Born Better European survey.


Country Members

Mel Cooper MCooper2@bradford.ac.uk

Mel is a Reader in Maternity and Migrant Health at the University of Bradford. She has a background in Health Services working as both a nurse and midwife before moving into Higher Education.  Mel’s research interests are around migrant and BAME communities (including pregnant women) and health services across Europe. Mel is interested in how health technology and other interventions such as peer support can be used to support migrant and BAME communities interaction with health services. Mel works closely with Non Government Organisations and facilities the Maternity Stream research network https://maternityresearch.cityofsanctuary.org/

Prof. Soo Downe sdowne@uclan.ac.uk

Soo spent 15 years working as a midwife in various clinical, research, and project development roles. In January 2000 she joined the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in England, where she is now the Professor of Midwifery Studies, coordinator of the Research in Childbirth and Health (ReaCH) group and co-Director of the THRIVE Centre. Her main research focus is the nature of, and cultures around, normal birth. She is the editor of ‘Normal Birth, Evidence and Debate’ (2004, 2008), and co-editor (with Sheena Byrom) of ‘The Roar Behind the Silence’ and of ‘Squaring the Circle’. She is the founder and Chair of the International Normal Birth Research Conference Series which is now in its 19thyear.  Between 2010 and 2018 she was the principle investigator on two EU COST Actions related to childbirth, involving academics, policy makers,  scientists, activists, and service users from 34 countries. The B3 survey was developed and extended through both COST Actions.

Soo is a Board of Directors  member of the International MotherBaby Childbirth Organisation,  a member of the Global Respectful Maternity Care Council of the White Ribbon Alliance, a member of the Steering Group for the recent Lancet Midwifery Series, and a co-author on papers in this and two other Lancet Series (Stillbirth, and Optimising Caesarean Section). With the UCLan ReaCH team, she has undertaken a range of reviews that have influenced World Health Organisation guidelines in maternity care, with a particular emphasis on integrating qualitative metasynthesis data into guideline development. She is currently a Cochrane EPOC editor.

Dr. Lucy Frith l.j.frith@liverpool.ac.uk

Lucy Frith is Reader in Bioethics and Social Science at the University of Liverpool. She has a taught health care ethics to medical students and health care professionals for a number of years. Her research focuses on the social and ethical aspects of health-care decision-making, policy and regulation, with a particular interest in empirical ethics and socio-legal approaches. She has carried out research on pregnancy and childbirth; reproductive technologies (gamete and embryo donation); research ethics (clinical trials and public involvement and cross-cultural issues in consent); the organisation and funding of health care provision; and the use of evidence in practice and policy. She has held visiting fellowships at the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Science and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge and the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law at the University of Hong Kong. She is on the steering committee of BBB and is a member of the UK data team.


Summary from presentation at Human Rights in Childbirth conference Zagreb 2015

Marie-Clare Balaam Babies Born Better Survey: An opportunity for cross country analysis of childbirth practice.


Support Groups

National Childbirth Trust – https://www.nct.org.uk/

Maternity Action – https://maternityaction.org.uk/