Leonie and Rachael have attended the SRIP conference at Hinsley Hall, Leeds.
The conference was opened by keynote speaker Olga can den Akker, Professor of Health Psychology, Middlesex University. The tone was set with hearing about new advances in third party assisted conception and importantly the impact/consequences for the parents, the third party who is assisting and crucially the child. The success rate of IVF has recently risen to 25% and so lots of families now have experienced this non-traditional and challenging way of bringing life into the world. Whilst highlighting the emotional effects of surrogacy for example, there were thoughts as to how the birth method may affect the parent-child relationship and the child’s feelings of identity as they learn of their heritage. Key research highlighted by Olga, was that when individuals are born through anonymous donor sperm/eggs, individuals have the right and often want to know whom their biological parents are. With countries having different legislation, attributing responsibility to either birth parents or genetic parents, it creates difficulty in monitoring how people are registered, there can be huge difficultly for people to find out their genetic heritability. Third party conception can introduce a new set of difference and equalities and so health planning for this way of reproducing should be a priority.
Janet McNally, University of Leeds presented her interesting qualitative PhD findings from mothers who either weaned their baby by the traditional method of spoon feeding in comparison to the newly popular baby led weaning. Her findings suggested it was a highly emotive subject with all mothers feeling the approach they selected was best for their baby, ease of approach but ultimately the approach needs to be matched with the babies characteristics of how they feed and the evidence base needs adding to.
The final presentation in this theme was by Dr Netalie Shloim (University of Leeds) sharing results that mothers of breast fed infants were more sensitive and responsive to their infants cues in compared to mothers who bottle fed their infants. Generally mothers who breast fed had more positive mealtime interactions with less distractions such as TV etc. strengthening the idea that it is not only important what infants are eating but also how mothers and infants communicate during a feed.
We attended some fascinating themed talks about ‘Development and validation of measures: birth satisfaction, birth trauma, postpartum specific anxiety'. One of the presenters included Professor Susan Ayers (City University London) who presented her work developing the Birth Trauma Scale, which is a measure of child birth related PTSD. Professor Ayers discussed that the Birth Trauma Scale was developed due to the lack of self-report measures of postpartum PTSD based on DSM-V criteria. Peers in perinatal research reviewed the questionnaire, in addition to postpartum women who had experienced birth-related PTSD. Overall, the research presented reminded us that the developing and using the valid and reliable scales measuring postpartum mental health is incredibly important for screening purposes and assessing the effects of treatment.
Leonie also did a flash presentation of the qualitative findings from the ACORN study. The aim the flash presentation was to present your research project in 3 minutes using one PowerPoint slide. Despite the tight time restrictions Leonie, alongside the other flash presenters, managed to state their research project within the time limit!
The first day of the conference was an amazing experience and we are looking forward to seeing what the second day holds in store for us!