Researcher page: Mary Steen

Researcher Picture
About the researcher: Mary Steen

Title: Visiting Professor

Department: Health & Social Care

Location: Riverside Campus, University of Chester


Maternity Assist


Research interests:

Current projects/research interests: I am interested in a wide remit of midwifery and family health issues: Raising the profile of midwifery care and research, Perineal trauma, family violence, Managing emotions and family relationships, Maternal health, well-being, antenatal and postnatal exercises, Active birth and natural pain management options, holistic approaches to birth, parenting, involving Fathers in Maternity care. Research Profile: 1 August, 2010, appointed as Professor of Midwifery, Faculty of Health & Social Care at the University of Chester, UK. 1 February, 2014 appointed adjunct Professor of Midwifery at UniSA, Adelaide, South Australia. 7th May, 2014 appointed a visiting professor at Port Harcourt University, Nigeria. 14th July, 2014, appointed as a Professor of Midwifery at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, UniSa, Adelaide, SA and Chair of the Women's Babies and Families research group. Became a visiting professor for University of Chester. I have a vast amount of midwifery experience (26 years )in hospital and community settings. I was employed for 20 years at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. I became interested in research in 1990 and undertook my first RCT in 1992/93. My main research area has been on the care and consequences of perineal trauma after childbirth. This research led to collaborative research with midwives in Mashhad Iran. This research involved the designing and development of a new pain relief treatment (femepad) which is now commercially available throughout the world. This work has received several awards for original research and clinical innovation. I am a member of the Perinatal Health Services Research Collaboration which is part of the Maternal and Fetal Health Research Group based at St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester. I supervise both Master and PhD students, I'm an external examiner for a Master of Midwifery programme and PhD students. I am a peer reviewer for submitted articles to several midwifery journals and also the Professional Editor for the RCM Mag,on-line papers and student E-news. In addition I am a Cochrane’s Reviewer and Collaborator. I am first author and my colleague Taniya Roberts is co-author of a book entitled 'Handbook of Midwifery Research' (March 2011) published by Wiley-Blackwell. Presently, undertaking research to explore how expectant parents can manage their emotions and family relationships during pregnancy and after childbirth. Collaborating with the Centre for men's health at LMU to undertake a service evaluation of the Mind mental health charity Building Resilience Model.

Teaching interests:

Educational Profile: Supported several midwives and other health professionals to undertake education and research activities. Responsible for in-service education and training re: perineal suturing and after care, domestic and child abuse, conflict resolution strategies. Collaborative educational experience to develop, facilitate and evaluate service development programmes Such as: Being responsive to the needs of women who are being abused. Teach - Pre and Post-Graduate Students: research methods, evidence-based midwifery, postnatal care, domestic abuse, family violence, poverty, complementary therapies, normal birth practices, involving fathers in maternity care. Designed and facilitated RCM research master classes and ran these in Leeds and London. Designed and facilitated RCM and UCLan continual professional development (CPD) seminars. Represented RCM as an advisor on ‘bonding with your baby', 'postnatal depression', ‘Supporting disabled parents and parents with additional support needs, commissioned to write the recent RCM guidelines, Reaching out: Involving fathers in maternity csre (2011). I have contributed to several Dorling Kindersley books, ‘Ask a Midwife’,(2008), 'The Pregnancy Day-by-Day Book' (2009), Day by Day Baby Book (2012) and I am the author of 'Pregnancy & Birth: Everything you need to know' (2011). I am a member of the Pampers village expert parenting panel and advise on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting issues. I have an interest in homebirths having spent many years in the community setting and have edited a book to support women (2012). Presently, working on the Maternity Assist project in collaboration with Duncan Fisher OBE, Dr Carol kingdon and Liverpool Women's Hospital. This enterprise uses the latest digital communication and information systems to assist maternity services to meet public health targets and the needs of expectant parents.

- folder: Research

- folder: Antenatal & postnatal exercises

BBC news: Maternal Health, Wellbeing & Beyond

The development and evaluation of a project entitled ‘Maternal Health, Well-being and Beyond’ which is a partnership project with Leeds City Council.

Maternal Health & Well-Being Project

A Poster presentation thats describes a holistic health and fitness programme specifically designed for pregnancy and after having a baby.

Maternal health & well-being project

This presentation describes a holistic health and fitness programme specifically designed to raise awareness of the health benefits of normal birth and the general health and wellbeing of women, their babies and their families

Wellbeing and beyond

This article describes a maternal health and well-being project which involves running antenatal and postnatal workshops and low impact and Pilate-based exercises with support from fitness instructors. These workshops and exercises promote normal birth practices and healthier life styles.

- folder: Baby Skin Care

A review of baby skin care

This online article describes and discusses the findings from a structured review of baby skin care and guidelines based on the best available evidence which was undertaken on behalf of the Royal College of Midwives

- folder: Books & Chapters

Data collection and management

This chapter describes and discusses data collection methods and management.

- folder: Handbook of Midwifery Research

Handbook of Midwifery Research

Cover page

The handbook of midwifery research

This accessible handbook enables midwives and student midwives to understand how to search and make sense of research evidence, how to write a research proposal and how to undertake a research study. The Handbook of Midwifery Research specifically focuses on the needs of midwives and students and helps increase the knowledge and understanding of midwifery research.

- folder: Homebirth

Supporting Women to Give Birth at Home: A practical guide for midwives

This book describes and discusses the main challenges and issues that midwives and maternity services encounter when preparing for and attending a home birth.

- folder: Pregnancy and Birth

Pregnancy and birth: Everything you need to know

This book provides, practical and visual information that is written in plain English. Pregnancy, birth and following birth is covered in detail.

- folder: The Day by Day Baby Book

The Day by Day Baby Book

This book provides a visual guide to looking after your baby in the first year. In-depth, daily advice on baby's growth, care and developments are covered.

- folder: The Day-by-Day Pregnancy Book:

The day-by-day pregnancy book:

Comprehensive advice for pregnancy, labour/birth and following birth from a team of experts.

- folder: Breech Presentation & Birth

Breech birth: Reviewing the evidence for external cephalic version and moxibustion

A review of women's preferences for birth mode, experiences of breech presentation and use of External Cephalic Version and Moxibustion.

Vaginal breech birth or Caesarean?

This presentation reviews the evidence for a vaginal breech birth or caesarean. The best available evidence for the use of External Cephalic Version (ECV)and Moxibustion therapy is also reviewed.

Vaginal or caesarean delivery? How research has turned breech birth around

This article reviews the evidence relating to vaginal and caesarean breech birth.

- folder: Continence in Women

Promoting continence in women following childbirth

This article describes and discusses anatomy and physiology relating to the urinary, digestive and female reproductive systems and links these to continence in women during the childbirth continuum. Useful learning exercises are included to help health professionals gain knowledge and understanding.

- folder: Domestic Violence

Being responsive to abused women during pregnancy

Newspaper article

Being responsive to the needs of women who are being abused.

One midwife's account of her work in setting up an educational and training programme to assist midwives to be responsive to the needs of abused women.

Childbearing women and violence: A training programme for midwives

This article discusses a training programme for midwives to raise their awareness of domestic violence in pregnancy

Childbearing women, violence and abuse in the workplace

Developing midwifery responses to women in their care who are living with violent men

This article describes an in-service training programme developed to increase midwives' understanding of domestic violence.

Development of antenatal education to raise awareness of the risk of relationship conflict

This article describes and discusses phase 2 of a study that explored the views of parents attending STOP as to what could be included in an antenatal parenting education session to enable and empower expectant parents to manage emotions and behaviour and prevent any relationship conflict escalating to abuse.

Domestic Violence: Education & Training of Midwives

DH - Conference report: Domestic violence - a health response: working in a wider partnership

Men and women’s perceptions and experiences of attending a managing abusive behaviour programme

This article describes and discusses a qualitative study that explored the perceptions and experiences of 15 men and 5 women who are parents and attending Start Treating Others Positively (STOP)a charity based in Leeds UK.

Midwives reflections: exploring attitudes, feelings and experiences when caring for women who are being abused

This articles describes and discusses midwives responses to caring for women who may be in an abusive relationship

Stop! Silent Screams

This article describes and discusses multi-complex issues relating to pregnancy and domestic violence. The midwife is ideally placed to recognise domestic abuse and offer care, support and information.

- folder: Eating disorders

When food becomes the enemy: Eating disorders

Several eating disorders may affect the health of pregnant women. This articles discusses the role midwives can play in identifying, and tackling the disorder

- folder: Homeopathy & Childbirth

Homeopathic remedies for self-adminstration during childbirth

This article discusses a study that assessed the usage and impact of providing a self-administered childbirth kit of homeopathic remedies

Homeopathy for childbirth: remedies and research

This article discusses the use of homeopathy during pregnancy, childbirth and following birth. It informs midwives of a research study exploring the use of 10 specifically chosen remedies and highlights the importance of the RCM's Normal Birth Campaign.

Self-administered Homeopathy part 2: A follow up study

This paper discusses a follow up, qualitative study that used semi-structured interviews to explore the views and experiences of women and their partners on the use of 10 homeopathic remedies that were self-administered.

- folder: Involving Fathers in Maternity Care

Engaging fathers in childbirth: A meta synthesis

This presentation explores the evidence from a meta synthesis undertaken as part of a programme of work entitled, Engaging Fathers in Childbirth (EPIC).

Involving Fathers in maternity care: best practice

This presentation describes and discusses a structured review of the evidence to support best practice when involving fathers during pregnancy, birth and following birth.

Not-patient and not-visitor: A metasynthesis of fathers’ encounters with pregnancy, birth and maternity care

The active engagement of fathers in maternity care is associated with long-term health and social benefits for the mother, baby and family. This study's aim was to identify and synthesise good quality qualitative research that explores the views and experiences of fathers who have encountered maternity care in high resource settings.

- folder: Leadership

Pushing boundaries and making it happen

This paper describes and discusses one midwife’s journey of becoming and being a professor of midwifery. The main focus is on pushing the boundaries and making it happen.

- folder: Making Normal Birth a Reality

How to encourage a woman to remain active in labour

This article gives an insight into how to encourage a woman to remain active in labour. There is substantial evidence that demonstrates being active during labour is beneficial.

Making normal birth a reality

This article describes a conference paper given at the Dia Internacional do Enfermeiro de Saude Materna e Obstetrica, Viseu, Portugal. A social model versus medical model of care is reviewed as is midwife's skills, i.e. 'sussing out labour' and 'intuition' 'working with pain'. Holistic approaches to support normal birth practices are also discussed.

Postures and positions in labour: Best practice

Conference presentation given at the National Primary Care Conference (May 2008)

- folder: Maternal Mental health

Anxiety, bonding and attachment during pregnancy, the transition to parenthood and psychotherapy

This article describes what psychotherapy is and discusses how it can help address troubling emotions along and relationship difficulties, during pregnancy and the transition to parenthood.

Maternal mental health: Stigma and shame

This article discusses how for some vulnerable women, a major life event such as becoming pregnant can bring out a predisposition to mental illness. It highlights that when receiving mental health care, shame can be invoked in varied and complex ways.

Striving for better maternal mental health

This article discusses the importance of the 'parity of esteem' concept and highlights the links between maternal mental and physical health problems.

The Burden of Shame and Stigma

It is not only women who experience shame and stigma because of their circumstances, it can affect midwives too.

- folder: Midwifery Care

Ask a Midwife

Contributor and one of the Consultant editors for this recently published booked by Catharine Parker-Littler (Midwivesonline)

The maze of midwifery

This presentation discusses the role of a midwife and debates whether she practises as an expert,a specialist or obstetric nurse

The role of the midwife: Time for a review

This article examines impersonalised midwifery care and the ideal of combining holistic care with evidence-based practice

- folder: Perineal Care

A new device for the treatment of perineal wounds

This article describes and discusses the results of laboratory investigations, risk assessment and women opinions of a new cooling device.

A randomised controlled trial to compare the effectiveness of ice-packs and Epifoam with cooling maternity gel pads at alleviating postnatal perineal trauma

A RCT that compared localised treatments in alleviating perineal trauma.

A randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of localised cooling treatments in alleviating perineal trauma: the APT study.

This article reports a randomised controlled trial conducted at St James's University Hospital in Leeds

A tool for assessing perineal trauma

This article describes a study that developed a visual tool to assist in the assessment of perineal trauma.

Alleviating perineal trauma - the APT study

An article that describes a randomised controlled trial reporting the main findings.

Alleviating perineal trauma: The APT study

This poster presentation summarises a clinical trial that investgated the effectiveness of localised cooling treatments in alleviating perineal trauma.

Alleviating postnatal perineal trauma: To cool or not to cool?

This article discusses evidence reported from quasi randomised and randomised controlled trials on the efficacy and acceptability of localised cooling methods in alleviating perineal trauma

Care and consequences of perineal trauma

This article discusses the care and consequences of perineal trauma which affects the majority of women.

Cold therapy and perineal wounds: Too cool or not too cool?

This article is a review of evidence concerning use of locally applied cold therapy to wounds.

Effectiveness of cooling gel pads and ice packs on perineal pain

This paper reports the findings of a randomised controlled trial undertaken at the Hazrat Ommolbanin University Maternity Hospital in Mashhad, Iran which investigated the effectiveness of localised cooling treatments to alleviate perineal trauma.

Feme pad: Out of the ice age and into the new millennium

This article explains the principles behind and use of the Feme Pad.

I can't sit down - easing genital tract trauma

This article discusses the high prevalence of genital tract trauma and its many negative consequences for women

Ice packs and cooling gel pads versus no localised treatment for relief of perineal pain: A randomised controlled trial

An RCT that investigated cooling treatments to alleviate perineal pain.

Perineal tears and episiotomy: How do wounds heal?

This article focuses on tissue trauma and healing of perineal wounds.

Perineal trauma: How do we evaluate its severity?

Assessment of perineal trauma

Risk, recognition and repair of perineal trauma

This article provides an overview of the literature relating to risk, recognition and repair of the perineum during the childbirth continuum.

The abused perineum

This article discusses whether too many second degree tears are being left to heal themselves, when in fact they should be sutured

The consequences of pregnancy and birth for the pelvic floor

This article discusses the anatomy and physiology of the pelvic floor and the important role it plays during childbirth. Trauma that can be caused to the pelvic floor and in the genital/rectal region is explored.

Understanding perineal pain: women's descriptions

This article gives an overview of the pain syndrome, discusses measurement of pain and explores, specifically the assessment of perineal pain and women’s descriptions.

- folder: Postnatal Care

Product focus: Postnatal breast and perineal pain

Painful breasts and perineum can be a problem in the early postnatal period. This article discusses the benefits of two cooling devices (Breast Soother and femepad) that will assist newly delivered mothers to achieve localised breast and perineal pain relief.

- folder: Student Midwives

Conflict Resolution for student Midwives

This article describes and discusses how the Start Treating Others Positively (STOP) model has been adapted to develop an educational workshop to assist student midwives in enhancing and developing skills to manage conflict in their working and learning environments.