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Maternal and Infant Health Research Group (MIHRG)

The Maternal and Infant Health Research Group (MIHRG), led by Professor Hora Soltani, works with a diverse range of stakeholders to deliver cutting edge applied research. Key collaborators include national and local government, NHS, voluntary sector, industry and academic organisations.

Our research activity addresses contemporary societal and clinical health problems related to maternal and infant health including

  • work in the fields of midwifery
  • nutrition
  • physiology
  • psychology and health behaviour change
  • sociology
  • clinical practice
  • intervention evaluation
  • public health

This work includes projects based within the UK and overseas in Indonesia, China, Pakistan and Iran.

We have established strong links through projects with international partners and organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Confederation of Midwives (ICM).

The (MIHRG) is active in research across the lifespan from preconception to adult pregnancy health issues. Our expertise lies in different research applications and mixed methods, including systematic reviews and evidence synthesis, experimental studies, qualitative inquiry and cost-effectiveness evaluations. Working in academic and service evaluation settings we have a track record of delivering translational and applied research findings of value to policy and practice.

Cochrane Reviews
Doctorate students
Project Reports


Cochrane Reviews

  • Sandall, Jane, Hora Soltani, Simon Gates, Andrew Shennan, and Declan Devane. "Midwife-led continuity models versus other models of care for childbearing women." Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 8 (2013)
  • Soltani H, Poulose TA, Hutchon DR. Placental cord drainage after vaginal delivery as part of the management of the third stage of labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD004665. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004665.pub3
  • Soltani H, Hutchon DR, Poulose TA Academic Journal. (2010). Timing of prophylactic uterotonics for the third stage of labour after vaginal birth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2 2010, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD006173. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006173.pub2


  • Hora Soltani: Hora is Professor in Maternal and Infant Health, a registered midwife with nearly 20 years experience conducting research in clinical and academic settings, and established the Maternal and Infant Health Research Group. Her broad research areas include postpartum haemorrhage, breastfeeding, maternal obesity and health behaviour change, and she has produced high impact outputs including Cochrane Reviews. She is currently involved in Talking Health during pregnancy, MOMTech, dietary habits of pregnant teens, Promoting Midwifery led care and the two Indonesian studies. She is regularly invited by WHO as an expert adviser for guideline development.
  • Alexandra Duxbury: A Public Health Nutritionist, interested in maternal and infant health, currently involved in a range of projects including: MOMTech, Talking Health during pregnancy, dietary habits of pregnant teens and Promoting Midwifery led care.
  • Frankie Fair: A registered midwife with research interests in maternal obesity, body image during pregnancy and after the birth and women’s experiences of birth especially fear of birth. Currently involved in projects including Promoting Midwifery Led Care, Caesarean Section and Wound Infection and Maternal Obesity and Neonatal Health Outcomes: A Cohort Study (in Padang-Indonesia).
  • Sadiq Bhanbhro: A research fellow with experience in social anthropology, public health and social and health protection. Currently working on a project exploring interrelationship between access to resources and maternal nutrition: an ethnographic study of a village in West Sumatra, Indonesia – funded by British Council
  • Dr Shona Kelly: Reader in Public Health specialising in multidisciplinary projects predominantly in the fields of epidemiology, sociology and psychology. Interests include the psychosocial factors impacting on stress leading to health problems such as cardiometabolic conditions or infertility. She has also advised large child health surveys and studies.
  • Anna Cronin de Chavez: Anna’s research interests are around thermal care behaviour, what people do to maintain a safe body temperature and fuel poverty. She is particularly interested in health risks of cold such as SIDS and hypothermia to newborns and infants.
  • Punita Chowbey: Punita's research interests include poverty, social exclusion, gender and ethnic inequalities in health, and topics around families and children. She has worked on applied and academic projects in health and social development in India and in the UK.
  • Anil Gumber: Anil is a Principal Health Economist at the Centre. Anil's research interests lie within economic evaluation of clinical trials; ethnicity, health and wellbeing inequalities; cost and benefit analysis of health programmes; econometric analysis of longitudinal and cross-sectional data; health development and financing in India; community health insurance in South Asia and health and poverty issues in South Asia


  • Rachel Rundle: a Senior lecturer and Public Health Nutritionist based in the Sheffield Business School, involved in the dietary habits of pregnant teens project
  • Andy Dearden: Professor of Interactive Systems Design. Andy is interested in the application of information and communication technologies, including mobile devices, to improve maternal and infant health both in the UK and in developing regions and is working on MOMTe
  • Maddy Arden: Interested in using psychological theories to design, implement and evaluate health interventions, especially those relating to women's health issues including the menstrual cycle, breastfeeding, infant weaning and maternal obesity. Currently involved in MOMTech, Talking Health
  • Penny Furness: Uses her expertise in Social and Health Psychology and qualitative research methods to contribute to projects including MOMTech and Talking Health
  • Carolyn Garland: A healthy lifestyles specialist midwife based in Doncaster who set up and runs the award winning Monday Clinic with her colleague Alison Williams, offering weight management and lifestyle advice to pregnant women with a BMI 40+. She is working on MOMTech, delivering the intervention in the preliminary study, and contributing to study design based on her experience of using the tools. In conjunction with Professor Hora Soltani, Carolyn and Alison organised the weighing it up conference on maternal obesity
  • Susan Hampshaw: Susan Is Head of Research, Evaluation and Innovation at Public Health, Doncaster Council and currently is part of the Talking Health during pregnancy project team
  • Carrie Wardle: Public Health Improvement Coordinator at Public Health, Doncaster Council and also is part of the Talking Health during pregnancy project team
  • Helen Bastion and Ali Brodrick (Jessop Wing) are part of the team for Promoting midwifery led care
  • Professor Indra Liputo  (Andalas University, Indonesia)

Doctorate students


Julie Edwards
Mark Williams


Jan Smith - Title: Barriers and facilitators overweight women face when attempting to follow a healthy lifestyle in pregnancy: Perspectives from women and staff.
Karen Baker - Jointly supervised by Huddersfield University

Current Professional Doctorates

Mayur Ranchordas - Title: Antioxidants for Reducing Exercise-Induced Muscle Soreness
David Rogerson - Title: Do undergraduate degree programmes prepare nutrition consultants for effective practice? An analysis of dieter's


Maternal Obesity

Download the project report(s)

Maternal deaths in Pakistan: intersection of gender, caste, and social exclusion (PDF, 208.7KB)
Migration, minorities and maternity services: an international collaboration across three contrasting countries (PDF, 267.8KB)
Parenting in modern Britain: understanding the experiences (PDF, 433KB)
Research Profile - Midwifery (PDF, 901KB)
Women's and midwives' perspectives on the design of a text messaging support for maternal obesity services (PDF, 506.5KB)


British Council
CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber
Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) South Yorkshire
Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council
Food Standard Agency
Public Health Doncaster
World Health Organisation

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