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The University of Southampton

NPMS2039 Life Sciences Applied to Midwifery Practice

Module Overview

This module introduces the core principles and scope of midwifery practice in order for you to contribute to the provision of safe, competent and evidence-based care throughout the childbearing continuum. This module enables you to underpin midwifery practice with the appropriate life science base. This includes a comprehensive knowledge of the anatomy, physiology and relevant pathophysiology of the human body, and the ability to apply that science to the provision of midwifery care.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To facilitate your development of the knowledge and skills required to undertake midwifery practice across antenatal, intrapartum and postpartum periods. To consolidate and further your previous knowledge of the sciences, and explore the application of the sciences to the underpinning of midwifery practice, thus enabling you to apply this knowledge to the provision of care.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Explore the anatomy and physiology of the breast and lactation, and the role of the midwife in the achievement of good nutrition in the woman and neonate.
  • Evaluate the role of the midwife in diagnosing pregnancy, assessing and monitoring women and fetus/neonate holistically from pre-conception through antenatal, intrapartum and postpartum periods.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of care and midwifery skills required to care for women, the newborn and the family within the context of the low risk/normal pregnancy and childbirth continuum
  • Demonstrate an understanding and be able to discuss the anatomy and physiology of the human body systems applied to the pregnancy –childbirth- puerperium continuum and from gamete to early childhood development.
  • Explore the models of maternity care for the provision of safe maternity services, including an exploration of Interprofessional working.


The module integrates relevant pathophysiology, genetic /genomics, psychosocial, ethical, legal, pharmacological, aspects across the childbirth continuum, for women, fetus or neonate, and her family to ensure the provision of high quality care in a variety of settings. The list below is not exhaustive. Maternity Service Organisation and Patterns of maternity care • The assessment and delivery of antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care (woman and fetus/neonate) • Professional communication - including using digital technology • Partnership working with woman and her family • Referring to the interdisciplinary team • Technological support in maternity care • Initial and daily examination of the new-born • Infant feeding; Promoting Breast Feeding (Baby Friendly Initiative) • Maternal Nutrition during pregnancy /childbirth continuum • Family planning, spacing and sexual health • Knowledge and skills to undertake antenatal and postnatal screening (including venepucture) • (Minor) disorders of pregnancy • Minor disorders of the neonate • Fundamentals of care (pain, bladder care, hydration, skin care, general well-being) • Knowledge and skills to facilitate normal labour and birth • Parenthood, family, role of fathers/partner • Legal aspects – birth registration, birth notification • Benefits - as relevant for maternity • Return to work • Fetal monitoring including Cardiotocograph (CTG) and Intermittent Auscultation (IA) Body systems during the childbirth continuum and parameters defining normality /abnormality to midwifery assessments • Integumentary system • Musculoskeletal system • Nervous system • Endocrine system • Cardiovascular system • Immune system • Respiratory system • Digestive system • Urinary system, fluids and electrolytes The reproductive system • Female and male reproductive anatomy and physiology • Genetics and genomics and application to reproduction and maternity care • Principles of embryology including errors of embryology/development and implications for maternity care and the wider public health agenda • Placental anatomy, physiology and implication of midwifery practice Physiology of • Pregnancy • Labour ( all 3 stages) • Puerperium • Neonate • Lactation • Physiology of pain and implication to midwifery practice • Pharmacology, pharmakenetics and medicines management in midwifery practice Programme threads are linked throughout and include: • Baby Friendly principles • Medicines management • Mental health and well-being • Values Based Journey

Special Features

Completion of Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) Practical Skills and simulation exercise as a course requirement. As a course requirement you will be asked to demonstrate professional communication using alternative media, including but not exclusive to a text message, social media post, telephone and email. Further details will be provided in the assessment guidance. Anatomy and physiology online learning resources Access to medical cadaver facilities for anatomy and body structures/relationships learning

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Quizzes Presentation Scenarios and role play Enquiry based learning Pair and group discussion Structured reflection Technology enhanced learning activities Self directed study Lectures Seminar activity Demonstration of anatomical parts Values Based Enquiry tutorials

Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Wider reading or practice30
Practical classes and workshops15
Completion of assessment task30
Follow-up work26.5
Total study time187.5

Resources & Reading list

Wambach K and Riordan J (2016). Breastfeeding and human lactation. 

Coad, J and Dunstal, M. (2011). Anatomy and physiology for midwives. 

Birthplace in England Research Programme.

Chenery-Morris C and McLean M (2013). Normal midwifery practice. 

Johnson MH (2013). Essential reproduction. 

Johnson R and Taylor W (2016). Skills for midwifery practice. 

Walker M (2017). Breastfeeding management for the clinician : using the evidence. 

Pollard M (2011). Evidence-based care for breastfeeding mothers: a resource for midwives and allied healthcare professionals. 

Marshall JE and Raynor M D (Eds) (2014). Myles textbook for midwives. 

Lewis L (Ed) (2015). Fundamentals of midwifery : a textbook for students. 

Walsh D (2011). Evidence and skills for normal labour and birth : a guide for midwives. 

Blackburn S (2013). Maternal, fetal and neonatal physiology; A clinical perspective.. 

All National Institute for Health Clinical Excellence Maternaity guidelines.

Moore K L, Persaud TVN and Torchia MG. (2013). The Developing Human; clinically orientated embryology. 



Group work


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 50%
Written report  (1500 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 50%
Written report  (1500 words) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Accommodation and Travel

There are no identified additional costs to you anticipated, as travel between University study sites should be expected as part of the programme

Books and Stationery equipment

Textbooks and journals are available in the library and as electronic resources; if you choose to purchase your own resources this will be at a cost to you.

Lab Coats

You may be required to purchase a lab coat for use in the medical cadaver facility.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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