Maternity research paper wins BMJ top prize

5 June 2018

BMJ award

Julia Sanders, Professor of Clinical Nursing and Midwifery at the School of Healthcare Sciences, and Midwifery Lecturer, Lynn Lynch, of the School of Healthcare Sciences, have been awarded the 2018 BMJ UK Research Paper of The Year, as members of the BUMPES Epidural and Position Trial Collaborative Group.

The paper, published in The BMJ last October, described the results of the BUMPES trial which investigated whether the position a first-time mother with a low dose epidural adopts during the end stages of labour increases the chance of a birth without interventions such as forceps or caesarean section. ‘Low dose epidurals’ are now the standard method of epidural pain relief offered to women in labour and are chosen by around 30% of women giving birth in the UK.

BUMPES was a large Randomised Trial, led by Professor Peter Brocklehurst, of Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit. Over 3000 women, expecting their first baby were recruited from 41 participating sites in the UK, between October 2010 and January 2014 including 296 women from the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

The study concluded that women adopting a position lying down on their side, rather than being upright, in the later stages of labour, were more likely to give birth to their baby without medical assistance.

The results of the trial, which was funded by the National Institute for Health Research, provided important new information for midwives and would help pregnant women, make informed choices about their position in the second stage of labour.

Julia Sanders, Professor of Clinical Nursing and Midwifery at Cardiff University and Cardiff & Vale University Health Board, said: “As a team we are delighted to win this award. This study shows the importance of questioning the care we provide to women and reveals there are simple things we can do to help women with epidural pain relief achieve the normal birth they desire.

“The study also demonstrates the importance of maternity units working together, and having midwives able to recruit the large numbers of women needed in clinical trials to provide us with clear answers to important research questions.”  

Julia began her research with the South East Wales Trials Unit, now the Centre of Trials Research, the largest group of academic clinical trials staff in Wales, and continues to work collaboratively with the Centre on a number of important research areas. The Centre facilitates Chief Investigators across the University and outside to carry out high quality research to inform clinical evidence.

The winning paper can be accessed here https://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j4471

For more information visit the School webpages.