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  1. Continuing Professional Development
Study at City

Midwifery Theory: Knowledge, Profession and Practice CPPD

Key information

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Delivery of this module will be online due to government-issued guidelines during the Covid-19 pandemic and may be made available face-to-face subject to Public Health England recommendations. Please submit your application and, once reviewed by the module leader, you will receive more specific information about the online delivery of your module and assessments.

In this course, you will learn about a range of concepts and theories that can be used to critically analyse maternity care.

Why choose this course?

This course is suitable for midwives with practice experience from a range of nationalities and cultures – and may also be of interest to non-midwives with an interest in midwifery or childbirth and maternity care, from a historical, anthropological or sociological perspective.

Course overview

The course examines midwifery history, current policies and the role of midwifery today and in the future. It uses theory as a tool for reflection and critical thinking, and compares midwifery professional roles and status across different times and cultures.

Childbirth is a biopsychosocial process - a physiological process, but one which is always socially and culturally shaped and managed, and which forms a major social and emotional event in the lives of individual women, families and communities.

From this perspective, we examine changes in midwifery that have occurred historically and in recent years in response to social and cultural influences and changes, in the UK and internationally. These include policy directions, the formal or professional status of midwifery and the social and cultural contexts in which midwives work to support women in pregnancy, birth and the transition to parenthood.

Module dates

Term 1

SEP: Wednesday 30 September 2020
OCT: Wednesday 7,Thursday 15,Wednesday 21 and 28 October 2020
NOV: Wednesday 4,11,8,25 November 2020
DEC:  Wednesday 2 December 2020

Module Submission Date: 08 January 2021

Course outcomes

Course outcomes

In this module, you will:

  • Learn about concepts and theories relevant to midwifery knowledge and practice.
  • Explore the basis of contemporary midwifery theory and practice through historical and sociological perspectives, as well as through the clinical evidence for midwifery care.
  • Discuss past and current challenges and opportunities in the organisation and delivery of midwifery care, in the UK and internationally.
  • Look at the clinical evidence for the value of midwifery practice and at theoretical concepts and perspectives which are useful tools for the critical analysis of midwifery and maternity care, past, present and future.

By the end of the module, you will be able to reflect critically on midwifery as a profession, on the range of influences on how midwifery care is provided and discuss implications for the future of the profession.



Prerequisite knowledge

Applicants would normally be expected to have been practicing as a registered midwife for at least one year, but other backgrounds may be appropriate, so please contact the module leader to discuss this.

English requirements

For those students whose first language is not English one of the following qualifications is also required:

  • IELTS: 7.0




The course delivery is highly flexible. Although there are weekly timetabled sessions, the learning resources can be accessed in your own time and for each topic.

Students are encouraged to participate actively in discussion and log into the module Moodle site regularly - but with flexible timing - to read and respond to the contributions of their peers as well as the course materials and key readings.

The learning in this module makes varied use of online resources including lead lectures in video format, topic workbooks, and links to wider reading and other resources.

There is a weekly timetabled slot for seminar or class discussion, as well as asynchronous discussion forums for each key topic area. In some weeks, individual tutorials will be arranged to enable you to discuss your assignment plans and progress.


There are two assessment components:

  • An online or face-to-face seminar debate on a key topic. Students will receive tutor feedback. Participation is not graded formally but is required to complete the module.
  • One 3,000-word essay on a topic area of your own choice that addresses the module learning objectives, carrying 100% of the marks for the module.

Recommended reading

Recommended reading

An online reading list provided in Moodle sets out core and recommended reading and enables easy access to reading materials. Additional and optional reading is also listed in the module workbooks and may be added to Moodle during the course in response to students’ discussions and interests. Core reading is also listed in the module specification.

Module leaders

  • Professor Christine McCourt

    Christine is Professor of Maternal and Child Health, School of Health Sciences, where she is research lead for the Centre for Research in Maternal and Child Health. She teaches at Undergraduate, Masters and Doctoral level as well as conducting and supporting a range of research projects. Her key interests are in ...