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The University of Southampton

NPMS6011 The Sciences for Practice in Midwifery

Module Overview

This module enables you to underpin midwifery practice with the appropriate 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. Taught sessions are with the BSc (Hons) Midwifery students. Resources, seminar activity and guided independent study will enable your to achieve the academic level for this module.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Offer a comprehensive explanation of the anatomy and physiology of the human body systems, their interaction to achieve homeostasis, relevant pathophysiology and application of this to the adaptations that occur throughout the pregnancy –childbirth- puerperium continuum.
  • Comprehensively know and explain the biological processes that occur to enable development from gamete formation to early childhood, and be able to analysis factors that might affect these process and extrapolate the result implications for midwifery practice.
  • Demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge of the biological, psychological and sociological processes of pregnancy, labour and the puerperium and critically analyse how these impact on the provision of midwifery care.
  • Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the breast and lactation, and the bio mechanics for breast feeding for the woman and neonate.
  • Explain the principles of pharmaceutics and analyse their implications to (a) human development; (b) the pregnancy–childbirth- puerperium continuum, and (c) extrapolate this knowledge to the role of the midwife in medicines management.


Biological and Bio chemistry underpinning knowledge for Midwifery practice • Molecules, cells and tissue structure and functions • Microbiology (particular focus on those relevant to infection) Body systems, their organisation and interdependence for homeostasis, and parameters defining normality /abnormality to midwifery assessments • Integumentary system • Musculoskeletal system • Nervous system • Special senses • 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 o Pregnancy o Labour ( all 3 stages) o Pain o Puerperium o Neonate o Lactation • Physiology of pain and implication to midwifery practice Medicines and pharmacology • Pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics • Principles of medicines management

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Technology enhanced learning activities Self directed study Lectures Seminar activity Demonstration of anatomical parts

Guided independent study125
Practical classes and workshops3
Total study time188

Resources & Reading list

Coad ,J and Dunstal, M. (2005). Anatomy and physiology for midwives. 

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

Johnson MH (2013). Essential reproduction. 

Vipond K (2013). Genetics. A Guide for Students and Practitioners of Nursing and Health Care.. 

VanMeter KC, and Hubert RJ (2014). Gould’s Pathophysiology for Health Professionals. 

Marieb EN (2013). Human Anatomy and Physiology. 

Moore, K L., Persaud T.V.N, Torchia MG. (2013). The Developing Human; clinically orientated embryology. 

• Provision of online anatomy and physiology learning resources, eg Anatomy TV, Marieb learning resources, Elsevier skill package • Access to local Maternity Unit for some seminar/skills activity • Access to dissection labs for Anatomy seminars /workshops. 

Korf BR and Irons MB (2013). Human genetics and genomics. 



Computer assisted assessment


MethodPercentage contribution
Computer assisted assessment  (1 hours) 40%
Exam  (1.5 hours) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Computer assisted assessment %
Exam %

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:

Travel Costs for placements

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

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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