This is going to hurt us: Women hit back at ‘belittling’ BBC portrayal of NHS labour ward

Here I am with @drclairekaye & @millihill for @mailplus on #ThisIsGoingToHurt

An important & complex conversation was had here on staff trauma, trust & safety.

View the media piece here


I would love to hear your ‘respectful’ thoughts and views here. I have to admit I watched in through my fingertips and found it quite triggering. This issue I have is that I would love to see the real lives of healthcare professionals portrayed through drama. Nevertheless, it is not a comedy out there.

I heard one interesting view from a woman who had experienced a traumatic birth. She found it cathartic and helpful to think of staff as being human in this way. What are your thoughts?

Until next time…Look after yourselves and each other 

Follow me via @SallyPezaroThe Academic MidwifeThis blog


Global Midwifery Survey Launched

Global Survey: Calling all Midwives & Nurse-Midwives around the world!



This project is part of #MidwivesInFocus

Survey here: https://bit.ly/3uERMmZ

In partnership with the Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics (Jhpiego) and Coventry University with support from the Nursing Now Challenge we have launched a global midwifery survey to explore professional identity in midwifery, strong midwifery leadership and representations of the midwifery profession around the world.

We want to include as many midwifery voices as possible in this work.

Please see the survey link for access & sharing here: https://bit.ly/3uERMmZ

Until next time…Look after yourselves and each other 

Follow me via @SallyPezaroThe Academic MidwifeThis blog


A Month of Awards!

This month has been awards month. First of all I picked up the Partnership Working Award from the Royal College of Midwives on behalf of www.hEDSTogether.com…I was certainly not expecting this award given the fierce competition. I was also feeling terrible in recovery from a cold when I collected the award. So not the best look over all (red nose & tears!)

Next time I certainly need to dress up in something a little more sparkly….

It was awesome to spend the day among other ‘Tall Poppies’ celebrating… It has been such a long time since we have been able to meet as midwives in person! The Brewery was a wonderful venue and the organizing team had done a wonderful job! – Thank you!

Next we had the Student Nursing Times Awards… #STNA 10th Anniversary!

It is such a privilege to judge the category of the ‘Student Midwife of the Year’

Here I am bestowing the award upon the wonderful Nicolette Porter from Middlesex University!

Also wonderful to meet with other awesome academics at this event….so much to learn and share from the best in Higher Education. I am learning every day!

Until next time…Look after yourselves and each other 

Follow me via @SallyPezaroThe Academic MidwifeThis blog


New Research Explores Substance Use in Midwifery Populations

September 2021, we published the first research of it’s kind to explore problematic substance use in midwifery populations. The maternity and midwifery forum kindly shared our blog about this here.

You can read about our findings here or watch the video below for a short summary of what we found.

 Main findings as follows:

• Just over ¼ of our sample (623 midwives) screened positive for problematic substance use (alcohol and a range of restricted drugs).

• Problematic substance use occurred reportedly in response to work-related stress and anxiety, bullying, traumatic clinical incidents and maintenance of overall functioning

• While 11% of those affected indicated they had sought help, 27% felt they should seek help but did not

• Barriers to help-seeking included fear of repercussions, shame, stigma, practicalities and a perceived lack of support either available or required

• 10% of the sample reported they had attended work under the influence of alcohol, and 6% under the influence of drugs other than tobacco or those as prescribed to them.

• 37% indicated concern about a colleague’s substance use.

This is only the beginning and there is lots more work to be done. Follow the project page for this here.

Until next time…Look after yourselves and each other 

Follow me via @SallyPezaroThe Academic MidwifeThis blog


The ‘Humans Not Heroes’ Project

Calling All Healthcare workers across the UK – The call-out for participants in this unique wellbeing project is now open with dates across 2021!

A black and white photograph of a persons face behind a plastic shield and glasses, dressed in full PPE.

If you, or someone you know, would like to get involved – please follow the link to sign up: https://bit.ly/HNHform

The workshops aim to give space to participants, allowing for moments to decompress and process.

By taking part in this project, you will participate in co-creation workshops led by professional artists Caroline Horton or Rochi Rampal, you will collaborate with other healthcare workers from across the UK in a supportive online environment and co-create a unique piece of audio art work which represents your experiences of working through the pandemic.

There are four dates to choose from for Workshop 1. Workshop 2 is optional as the co-refinement process can take place via email. The sharing event is also optional and will be recorded for participants who are unable to attend.

All workshops will take place online. There are a number of dates available.

You can always see what studies we are recruiting for by clicking here.


Reflecting on a fabulous May 2021 and #IDM2021

As we come to the end of May 2021, I wanted to reflect on a few of the things which have come to fruition.

Of course early on we celebrated International Day of the Midwife 2021. Invest in midwives…The best is yet to come! #IDM2021


On this #IDM2021 (May the 5th) I was thrilled to be able to announce some awesome things we have been working on for some time now. First, I was able to share our @IolantheMidwife ‘Midwives Award’ won on #InternationalDayoftheMidwife for our work on Substance use in Midwifery populations. You can still participate in this research until September 2021 – Details below. Please share this link with midwifery teams: https://bit.ly/UKMidwivesPSU


I was also able to share my appointment as #NursingNowChallenge midwifery champion!

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3h0t8X6


I hope that this will be enable us to raise the profile of midwives around the world.

Furthermore, on the 6th May 2021 I had the privilege of being the invited speaker at the 102nd Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation@INMO_IRL (@INMO_IRL) Annual Delegates Conference. #INMOADC. I shared our work ‘Exploring Problematic Substance Use in Nursing and Midwifery Populations’ – A warm audience as ever!

Thank you for having me.


Then on the 18th of May 2021 I tuned in to watch the policy dialogue presenting the findings from #SoWMy2021 to Member States in an effort to encourage sustainable investment in the midwifery workforce. This was a really inspiring event where I was able to make some really valuable connections – thank you.


Other than May being my birthday month, May 2021 has been absolutely awesome. Moreover, I have been able to settle in in my new role as an RCM Fellow! Read more here

Buckinghamshire midwife awarded national honour

“Excited by what we may achieve together as this fellowship brings forward new opportunities…the best is certainly yet to come” says @SallyPezaro from @covcampus receiving RCM Fellowship #rcmedconf21 #education

Now that some of the restrictions are easing it seems that some publications are able to move forward again in the process of peer review. As such, I will be sharing some new publications with you all soon. I also have lots of bid writing plans for next month alongside teaching. A summer of collaborations ahead.

First, I am grateful for the opportunity to continue and finish journey with @OxfordSBS … because midwifery #LeadershipMatters


Until next time…Look after yourselves and each other 

Follow me via @SallyPezaroThe Academic MidwifeThis blog


Calling Midwives for Research Exploring their Substance Use One Year After the first UK Lockdown

A year ago, we surveyed over 600 midwives in the United Kingdom (UK) with regard to their substance use among other things. Data collection was halted early in response to the first lockdown of 2020 to avoid a distortion of results. Our findings are currently under peer review for publication.

Now, one year on, we are again looking for as many UK midwives as possible to complete and share this new survey, so that we may investigate what, if anything has changed.

All UK midwives are invited to complete this survey whether or not they participated in our last survey. They are also encouraged to participate whether or not they use substances. Please share the survey link widely.

Survey Link: https://bit.ly/UKMidwivesPSU

Please note: We will not be able to track or identify you in any way. As such, there will be no repercussions arise from anything you disclose. We are only interested in understanding, so please help us by keeping your responses anonymous throughout.

The aim of this new research is:

·         To identify the rate of problematic substance use (PSU) among midwives registered in the UK

·         To explore the leaving intentions of midwives registered in the UK

·         To explore the help seeking behaviours of midwives registered in the UK

·         To identify health risks among midwives registered in the UK

·         To measure work engagement within UK registered midwifery populations

Thank You on wooden blocks

Survey Link: https://bit.ly/UKMidwivesPSU

Access the entire project page here.

Follow me via @SallyPezaroThe Academic MidwifeThis blog

Until next time…Look after yourselves and each other 🎓


Identifying and Responding to Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) in Pregnancy #16DaysOfActivism

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign which will kick off on the 25th of November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and will run until the 10th of December, Human Rights Day. #16DaysOfActivism 

During these 16 days we will be launching and inviting people (predominantly health professionals) around the globe to enrol onto our Massive Open Online Learning Course (MOOC) entitled: Identifying and Responding to Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) in Pregnancy

Around 1 in 12 people are exposed to domestic violence and abuse (DVA) during pregnancy. This MOOC is free to access and will offer evidence-based training to professionals around the globe looking to improve their skills in supporting those affected by domestic violence and abuse (DVA) during pregnancy. On this course, students will discover the research, guidelines and techniques for screening for DVA. Students will have the opportunity to enhance their ability to support safe disclosure in maternity settings and empower victims of DVA to explore options and seek further support.

To enrol yourself and join the course… click this link

Follow me via @SallyPezaroThe Academic MidwifeThis blog

Until next time…Look after yourselves and each other 💚💙💜❤


The cycle of maltreatment: How can we best support those at risk of having their baby removed at birth?

Applications for babies to be taken in to care at birth are at a national high. This results in significantly impaired life outcomes for the birthing community and their babies. So what barriers and facilitators are at play here? We have produced the following review of the literature published in @BJMidwifery to uncover therapeutic mechanisms and interventions to support those at risk of having their baby removed from them at birth.

BJM lit review

Tantawi-Basra, T., & Pezaro, S. (2020). Supporting childbearing women who are at risk of having their baby removed at birth. British Journal of Midwifery28(6), 378-387.

white bear amirugumi knitted doll

What did we find?

Barriers in supporting childbearing women who are at risk of having their baby removed at birth include:

  • Social narratives – Do these set women up to fail?
  • The paradox of help-seeking, fear and stigma – Women avoiding seeking help due to a fear of services
  • Inequalities in ethnic minority groups
  • Adverse childhood events (ACEs) and the cycle of maltreatment

Facilitators in supporting childbearing women who are at risk of having their baby removed at birth include:

  • Women’s capacity for change and self-esteem
  • Childbearing becoming a motivator for change
  • Mutual and realistic goal setting
  • The development of strong professional relationships
  • Early and sustained interventions

Uniquely, using the themes presented within this review, we have been
able to model the cycle of maltreatment which needs to be broken in Figure 1.

Cycle of Maltreatment model

As this review only yielded eight studies in total, further research could usefully inform a richer provision of research inspired teaching and training in this area.

Follow me via @SallyPezaroThe Academic MidwifeThis blog

Until next time…Look after yourselves and each other 💚💙💜❤



Boats On An Ocean

person in blue denim jeans with gray and black metal padlock

Looking at the lives of healthcare workers through the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, this project explores their ‘human’ experiences – in contrast to the public and media portrayal of them as ‘heroes’.

The audio artwork is the representation of the stories, experiences and emotions of eight healthcare workers from Coventry and across the UK, gathered during an online creative workshop. From this, we identified seven themes, including the theme of the ‘hero’ narrative. While some might consider the label of ‘hero’ as praise, many of our healthcare worker participants explained that it sometimes caused feelings of guilt. A shift in focus is needed to recognise the emotional and physical toll for individuals. Adequate support is needed to help healthcare workers find meaning in their experiences.

LINK: https://coventrycreates.co.uk/project/boats-on-an-ocean/


#BoatsOnAnOcean – Our audio art piece showcased via the #CoventryCreates digital exhibition….#CityofCulture2021

Click here to see and hear this work

Great to work with @KerryWykes, @LouiseMoodyCU, @lizzesparkes, @YourOldChina & Bharti Patel to represent healthcare workers experiences of #COVID19 in this way!

Graduation cap

Follow me via @SallyPezaroThe Academic MidwifeThis blog

Until next time…Look after yourselves and each other