Division of Research FAQ

What does the Division of Research do?

The Midwives Alliance Division of Research (DOR) is a volunteer group comprised of clinicians, academics, research and policy experts, and database developers. Together they work to increase knowledge about midwifery care and help midwives become more fluent in conducting research, critically appraising the available data, and incorporating the best available research findings into their practice. The Division’s MANA Statistics Project facilitates relevant research by collecting data on maternal and infant health outcomes in midwife-led care and making these data available for qualified researchers via our data access procedures.

It seems to take a long time to publish any research using this data. Why?

The entire MANA Stats pipeline from data entry to publication has many parts, each of which take time.  The first part of the pipeline involves data collection. Midwives enroll in the project, obtain consent from their clients, and enter data usually over the course of nearly a year of care.  After submission, some records go through a data review process to ensure accuracy. Beyond this   data review, there is still a significant amount of work to prepare data for researchers.  Each dataset must be validated. The 2.0 dataset has already been validated and validation of the 3.0 and 4.0 datasets are in progress.  

Once a researcher decides to apply for access to the datasets there are steps to follow as outlined in the Handbook for Researchers.  After a researcher receives their data they can begin the process of data analysis, writing up their findings into an article, submitting the article to a journal for review and then making necessary revisions. It is not uncommon for this whole process to take a number of years from start to finish.

Where do I find information on the safety of homebirth?

Many peer-reviewed research studies from around the world have confirmed the safety of home birth for women with uncomplicated pregnancies. This body of research includes a landmark study published in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health, which examined outcomes for nearly 17,000 courses of care from the 2.0 MANA Stats dataset (Cheyney et al., 2014).

The Senior Advisor for the DOR, Saraswathi Vedam, has co-authored an incredible annotated bibliography of the existing research on homebirth, the “Homebirth: An Annotated Guide to the Literature” page of our website. Each study is described in a short paragraph and categorized according to its quality. Additional resources for understanding research are also available there.

Can I see the MANA Stats data?

The MANA Stats database is proprietary and is owned by the Midwives Alliance of North America, who is responsible for the reliability, integrity, privacy and security of the data contained within it. This database contains information about childbearing persons, newborns, pregnancy and birth experiences, their health care, and practices of the midwife contributors. 

Qualified researchers with a study proposal are welcome to apply for access to the data; please see our page for researchers to access application materials.  Midwives can see their own practice data at any time from inside their MANA Stats account.  State midwifery organizations that have an account can see overall data for all of their members together, but not data for each individual midwife in the organization.

I want to do some research on X. How can I get access to the MANA Stats data?

Please see our page for researchers for more information on how to apply for access to MANA Stats data.

I’d like to do a special project on X, but there are no questions about X on the current data form. How can I get my questions added to the form?

Great question, and one that  excites us! The DOR can help researchers to put together special modules for prospective data collection using the MANA Stats system. Contact us if you have a prospective study proposal!

Do I need to have a CPM or other credential to contribute data to MANA Stats?

No, you do not. The MANA Statistics Project is open to midwives of all types, practicing in all settings (though we primarily collect data on home and birth center births).  When you enroll in the MANA Statistics projects we ask for some information regarding education and credentials and ask that you update this information if it changes.  

Can student midwives enroll as contributors to MANA Stats?

Yes, we encourage all student midwives/apprentices to enroll in the Statistics Project if possible.  The student/apprentice can be listed as the second or third midwife on the birth form.  This way new midwives can track the outcomes and numbers of births they have been involved in from the beginning of their careers!

What’s in it for me as a midwife?

Besides contributing to research on midwifery outcomes and the midwifery model of care, midwives reap other benefits from contributing their data:

Information about your practice’s outcomes, volume, and demographics is available to you via the statistics reports in your MANA Stats account.  You can use these reports explain your practice to related health professionals, and answer questions from potential clients, as well as improve your practice through review of your statistics in comparison to national, regional, and local statistics.

Certified Professional Midwives can earn CEUs towards recertification by contributing to MANA Stats.  See NARM’s CPM recertification page for details.

What if I don’t include all this information in my charting?

The current form is designed to ask primarily information you would likely be charting already. We do have some charting aids that may be helpful to you, which you will find on the manastats.org web site (sign in to your MANA Stats account and click on the big blue "i" in the box at the lower right of your screen for help). The more data that midwives contribute to the database, the stronger it will be for research, so we want to make this as easy for midwives as possible!

I really believe in the MANA Stats project, but I don’t have time to keep up. What can I do?

  • Fill out the majority of the form, as soon as possible after each birth, and finalize it at the end of your postpartum care so that it’s not such a big job at the end
  • Streamline your data collection, modernize your charting
  • Enlist a student, office manager, volunteer
  • Remember that contributing birth data earns you CEUs toward CPM recertification

For more information contact us at manastats@mana./org