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I practised as a midwife before moving into midwifery teaching and joining Nursing Studies in Edinburgh University. I continued regular practice as a midwife under an honorary appointment with Lothian Health and have practised independently.
For the short period that Nursing Studies was a School, I was the Head of School. I subsequently became Professor of Midwifery, the first midwife to hold that title in the University of Edinburgh.
I accepted early retirement in December 2008 and became a Professorial Fellow, which allows me to continue research and publication, as well as some supervision and teaching.
My doctoral studies arose from my observation of poor retention of newly-qualified midwives, and an interest in labour force issues continues. My research interests have moved towards the politics of maternity care, including historical and international aspects.
This interest features a strong woman-centred orientation, including both the childbearing woman and the woman as a midwife. With colleagues in Hangzhou Normal University and the staff of Hangzhou First People's Hospital, I have been involved in the establishment of the first midwife-led normal birthing unit in mainland China . I led the planning group for the symposium to mark the bicentenary in June 2011 of the birth of the Edinburgh obstetrician, Sir James Young Simpson.
My funded research has focussed on loss in childbearing. This has taken the form of loss through relinquishment and perinatal loss, and also the death of a mother.
Care during pregnancy for the disadvantaged woman
This article was published on Dec 8, 2010