Maternal Health Research Conference

24th May 2022, 9:30am - 3:30pm

Edge Hill University


Book Now

Person holds their pregnant bump.

Maternal Health Research Conference 

This international event being held at Edge Hill University will highlight some of the impactful, multidisciplinary research that exists in the field of maternal health. We have international speakers contributing virtually from Australia and Brazil, with delegates from these countries also joining us. There will be time for networking, reflection and research planning as part of this event.

Plenary Speakers:

Plenary 1: Dr Paige van der Pligt

Dr Paige van der Pligt

‘The role of diet quality and early identification of cardiovascular disease risk in pregnancy: supporting women’s health during pregnancy and into the future’

Dr van der Pligt is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian and a Senior Lecturer in Nutrition at Deakin University. She is mid-career researcher in the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) and her research interest lies with how pregnancy nutrition impacts maternal and neonatal health and disease (obesity, gestational diabetes and cardiovascular disease). She holds an honorary research position at Western Health, the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital and her research targets early pregnancy predictors of gestational diabetes and cardiometabolic disease and the impact of diet quality and biomarkers in early risk prediction. She is currently completing a 12-month Deakin University Faculty of Health Research Fellowship.

Plenary 2: Dr Anna Karenina Azevedo-Martins

Dr Anna Karenina Azevedo-Martins

‘Obesity and gestational diabetes: decipher me or I’ll devour you’

Dr Anna Karenina Azevedo-Martins is a nutritionist graduated from the State University of Ceará and soon after graduation started scientific training at ICB/USP, in the laboratory of Prof. Rui Curi and under his guidance. Anna is a professor/researcher at the School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities at USP, coordinating the Centre for Bioscience Studies ( since its creation in 2008. This group is interested in producing knowledge in an ethical, conscious and humane way, thus contributing to the formation of researchers capable not only of producing new knowledge, but also of seeking a scientific production connected with the needs of the society that surrounds us.

Aware of the responsibility that a research group has to talk to the general population, in July 2021, Dr Azevedo-Martins and the journalist Ana Cecília Aragão launched the Scientific Dissemination Magazine “Like water for science” ( ). This magazine has been a space to reflect on scientific work and to share in a simple way the production of scientists in different areas.  Dr Azevedo-Martins invites you to get to know this group and to share a rich academic experience with a lot of work and a lot of joy!

Workshop: The Body in Perinatal Health, facilitated by Emma Perris

Emma Perris

This workshop will explore how creative therapies, in particular Dance Movement Psychotherapy, can support the wellbeing of mothers who are experiencing perinatal mental health challenges. We will consider the relationship of perinatal mothers to their bodies and how body-based interventions can be utilised when working within perinatal mental health.

Comfortable clothing is recommended.

Performance: GOO:GA (2021), by Dr Hannah Ballou

Goo:GA Poster

In 2016, Hannah Ballou performed goo:ga, a feminist comedy show when she was eight months pregnant with her first child. Five years later, Ballou is expecting her second. The biological process is the same, but everything else could not be more different; her 5-year-old wants in on the action, one co-star is in an urn, she’s haunted by the ghosts of miscarriages past, and honestly she just cannot get as worked up about kid number two. Then she finds out this baby has much bigger problems than the patriarchy…

Dr. Hannah Ballou’s work is feminist, sometimes autobiographical, and challenges configurations of the comic body by asking who is funny, when, how, why, and why not? She is known to work with live animals and sleeping children. She once found out she was pregnant live on stage. She is the force behind Marina Abramopug and neo-burlesque alter-ego Lambchop Magoo. Recent shows include Shhh, The Doctor Is In, goo:ga, and hoo:ha. She is a lecturer in drama at Kingston University, London.

09:30  Registration
10.00  Opening & welcome, Prof Vicky Karkou, EHU
10.10  Plenary 1: Dr Paige van der Plight, Deakin University Melbourne, Australia
10.50  Optimal gestational weight gain & birth outcome – Dr Julie Abayomi, EHU
11.00  Birth experiences: The balance between a positive and traumatic birth – Dr Giliane McKelvin, Bolton
11.10  The weight change, dietary intake and physical activity of black pregnant women in Liverpool – Miracle Rotimi, EHU
11.20  Assessing if Mamafit Exercise Programme impacts on physical & mental health – Katie Cole, EHU
11.30  Performing Poetry: The narratives of unknown childbearing – Jane Rooney, EHU
11.40  Performance: GOO:GA (2021) – Dr Hannah Ballou
12.10  Lunch & e-posters
1.00  Plenary 2: Dr Anna Karenina Azevedo-Martins, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
1.30  Workshop: The Body in Perinatal Health – Emma Perris, EHU
3.00  Closing remarks, Dr Julie Abayomi
3.10  Posters & networking

This event is in conjunction with the Health Research Institute & the Research Centre for Arts & Wellbeing at Edge Hill University.

The event is free.  Online places are still available

Social Media Handles @EHU_Research @EHUNutrition @EHU_FHSCM @EHUMidwifery @artswellEHU @edgehill_HRI

The conference is suitable for students, academics, practitioners (especially dietitians, nutritionists, midwives and therapists), and anyone with a particular interest in maternal health, from Edge Hill University and beyond.

If you wish to contribute to this conference, we welcome submission of relevant research posters both hard copy and electronic, to reach our hybrid audience.  There is a section in the booking form for you to confirm if you wish to contribute.

To book your place on the event, please follow the booking link.

Health Research Institute Logo and Arts and Wellbeing Logo