The main aim of the department of Midwifery Science is to evaluate maternal care for women in the low-risk category. The underlying objective is to improve the quality of the care provided. To this end, the department is developing a sustainable, high-quality research programme focusing on the quality of primary maternity care, with special reference to such aspects as:
- Place of delivery
- Cooperation between primary and secondary healthcare providers, with special reference to childbirth
- Cooperation between midwives and other primary healthcare providers
- Accessibility of maternity care for women with low educational levels
- Provision of information for ethnic minorities
Other key focus areas of the research programme are:
- Clinical effectiveness of care interventions such as pain management
- Cost-effectiveness of the various options for obstetric care, including choice of the place of delivery.
There is a lack of good research into maternity care for women in the low-risk category, both in the Netherlands and abroad. Such research is essential for the preservation of the strong, autonomous position of the midwife in the Dutch maternity care system. It should be noted in this connection that the Netherlands still has a strikingly high proportion of home births in comparison with other countries, which makes it a unique area for study of the effectiveness of this form of obstetric care.
Researchers in the department of Midwifery Science devote a great deal of time to the exchange of knowledge. In the first place, there are close links with AVAG, in the form of teaching, presentation of research results and supervision of research projects performed by students. In addition, there is a strong focus on the recruitment and supervision of qualified midwives for doctoral research studies. In addition, researchers present their results on a regular basis in national and international journals and at congresses.