Denise Lawler
Asst Professor/ Head of Midwifery, School of Nursing & Midwifery

Biography

Denise is an Assistant Professor of Midwifery in School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin. Denise qualified as a registered general nurse in 1993 and worked as a staff nurse in Ireland until 1995. She registered as a midwife in 1997 and following registration she practised as a staff midwife in the Rotunda Hospital. In 2000 she assumed the post of midwife tutor in the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital and in 2006 she became Acting Principal Midwife Tutor. In September 2006 Denise transferred to the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin. Clinical practice remains a priority for Denise and she continues to facilitate (with three other Lecturers in Midwifery) a midwife led antenatal clinic in the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital. Denise recently completed her PhD studies and the title of her thesis is '(Re)constructing Myself: the process of transition to motherhood for women with a disability.' Denise is also a member and co-founder of the Meta-synthesis in Midwifery group (MMSG) in the School of Nursing and Midwifery,Trinity College Dublin.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Women with Disability: Transition to Motherhood and Self in, editor(s)Gillian Thomson & Virginia Schmied , Psychosocial Resilience and Risk in the Perinatal Period: Implications and Guidance for Professionals, London and New York, Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group, 2017, pp76 - 89, [Lawler D] Book Chapter, 2017

Gallagher L, Lawler D, Brady V, OBoyle C, Deasy A, Muldoon K, An evaluation of the appropriateness and effectiveness of structured reflection for midwifery students in Ireland, Nurse Education in Practice, 22, 2017, p7 - 14 Journal Article, 2017

Alaya F. & Lawler D., Health Seeking Behaviours in Pregnant Women, Maternal Morbidities Conference, School of Nursing and Midwifery, 8th November 2016, 2016 Poster, 2016

Lawler D, 'Parenting with a physical disability or sensory impairment in contemporary Ireland.', National Disability Authority RPS 2015, 2015, 1- Fieldwork collection, 2015

Lawler D. Begley C. & Lalor J., (Re)constructing Myself: the process of transition to motherhood for women with a disability, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2015, p1 - 12 Journal Article, 2015

Lawler, D, Lalor, J, Begley, C, Access to maternity services in Ireland for women with a disability: adherence too or in breach of international instruments decreeing the rights of people with a disability, Optimising Childbirth Across Europe, Brussels, 9-10 April, 2014, pp55- Oral Presentation, 2014 URL

Lawler D. Begley C. & Lalor J., Healthcare professionals, companions or adversaries, in the process of constructing the self as a mother with a disability?, Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology (SRIP) 34TH Annual SRIP Conference, Malta, 16-17th Sept 2014, 2014, pp1- Oral Presentation, 2014 URL

Lawler D. Begley C. & Lalor J., (Re)constructing Myself: the process of transition to motherhood for women with a disability, 30th Triennial Congress, International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), Prague, Czech Republic, 1-5th June 2014, 2014, pp1- Oral Presentation, 2014 URL

Lawler, D., Lalor, J., & Begley, C, Challenges and barriers encountered by women with a disability when accessing maternity services: a literature review, International Journal of Childbirth, 3, (4), 2014, p203 - 217 Journal Article, 2014

Sheerin, F., Keenan, P., and Lawler, D., Mothers with Intellectual Disabilities: Interactions with Children and Family Services in Ireland, British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 41, (3), 2013, p189 - 196 Journal Article, 2013 DOI

Lawler D, Lalor J, Begley C., 'Being with woman': a myth or fact for women with a disability (WWD) , 4th Annual Nursing and Midwifery Conference, NUIG,, Galway, 15th - 16th April , 2013 Oral Presentation, 2013 URL URL

Lawler, D., Lalor, J. & Begley, C, Exploring the impact the transition to motherhood may have on a woman's sense of self: a grounded theory study, Nottingham International Conference for Education and Research in Midwifery, Nottingham University,, 8th September, 2012, pp1- Meeting Abstract, 2012 URL

Lawler D, Lalor J, Begley C, Higgins A, Sheerin F, Keenan P, Nicholl H, Tuohy, Kavanagh R. , Accommodating diversity in the maternity services: the experiences of women with disabilities , 29th Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives, Durban, June, 2011, pp163 - 163 Meeting Abstract, 2011

Lawler, D., Lalor, J. & Begley, C. (2011), Pushed to the margins: access to maternity services in Ireland from the perspective of women with a physical or sensory impairment, 3rd International Nursing and Midwifery Conference, School of Nursing and Midwifery, National University of Ireland, Galway, 5th April 2011, 2011, pp1 Meeting Abstract, 2011 URL

Lawler D, Lalor J, Begley C, 'Being with woman': Fact or fiction for women with a physical disability or sensory impairment, 29th Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives , Durban , June , 2011, pp105 - 105 Meeting Abstract, 2011

Biesty, L., Brady, V., Dunlea, M., Lawler, D. & Sweetman, S. (2011), Women's experiences of vaginal examination in labour: a meta-study, 12th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference - Transforming Healthcare through Research and Education, Trinity College Dublin, , 9th-10th November, 2011, pp1- Conference Paper, 2011 URL

Lawler, D., Pregnancy and disability: the provision of effective, high quality midwifery care for women with a physical disability or sensory impairment, Workshop conducted at 12th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference Transforming Healthcare through Research and Education, Trinity College Dublin, 9th November 2011, 2011, pp1- Meeting Abstract, 2011 URL

Lawler, D., Lalor, J. & Begley, C. (2010), Antenatal education for women with a physical disability and sensory impairment: the clandestine challenges for antenatal educators in Ireland, 11th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference - Transforming Healthcare through Research and Education, Trinity College Dublin, 4th November , 2010, pp1- Meeting Abstract, 2010 URL

Lalor J, Lawler, D., Begley, C., Sheerin, F., Keenan, P., Higgins, A., Nicholl, H., Tuohy, T., Kavanagh, R. , Women with disabilities: accessibility issues for women receiving care within the publically-funded maternity service in the Republic of Ireland, 11th Annual Research Conference, School of Nursing and Midwifery , Trinity College Dublin, November, 2010, pp71 - 71 Meeting Abstract, 2010

Lawler D. (2010), Women with disabilities: the midwife's role and responsibilities., The Practising Midwife, 13, (1), 2010, p20-3 Journal Article, 2010

Sheerin, F., KEENAN, P. & Lawlor, D., Publicly-funded Irish Health Services provided to women with an Intellectual Disability during pregnancy, child-birth and early motherhood - service providers views, 11th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference - Transforming Healthcare through Research and Education, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, 4th & 5th November, edited by School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Research Events Committee , 2010, pp1- Poster, 2010

Begley, C., Higgins, A., Lalor, J., Sheerin, F., Alexander, J., Nicholl, H., Lawler, D., Keenan, P., Tuohy, T., Kavanagh, R , The strengths and weaknesses of publicly-funded Irish health services provided to women with disabilities in relation to pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood , Dublin, National Disability Authority, 2010 Report, 2010 URL

Lawler, D. , The strengths and challenges encountered when recruiting women with a physical or sensory disability for a study exploring their experiences of the maternity services, PhD Doctoral Colloquium, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, 18th June , 2009 Meeting Abstract, 2009

Lawler, D., The impact a physical or sensory disability has on the communicational methods employed by the researcher when interviewing - a reflection on the interaction, PhD Doctoral Colloquium, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, 18th June , 2009 Meeting Abstract, 2009

Lawler, D., Lalor, J. & Kavanagh, R. (2009), Facilitating a focus group: how the dynamics and participant behaviour changes in response to the physicality of the facilitator, 10th Annual Interdisciplinary Research Conference - Transforming Healthcare through Research and Education, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, 4th November 2009, 2009, pp1- Meeting Abstract, 2009 URL

Begley, C., Higgins, A., Lalor, J., Sheerin, F., Alexander, J., Nicholl, H., Lawler, D., Keenan, P., Tuohy, T. & Kavanagh, R. (2009), Maternity care needs of women disabilities: a hidden challenge., European Academy of Nursing Science Annual Scientific Meeting, Klaipeda, Lithuania, January , 2009 Conference Paper, 2009

Lawler, D. , Exploration of the strengths and weaknesses of the publicly funded health services for women with disabilities during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood, Essence of Midwifery Care Conference, Coombe Women's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, 5th May , 2009 Meeting Abstract, 2009

Lawler, D. , Grieving for myself - a phenomenological hermeneutical study of women's lived experience of postnatal depression , Health 4 Life Conference: thinking, feeling, being. Critical perspectives and creative engagement in psychosocial health, Dublin City University, Dublin. Ireland, 12th September, 2007, pp1- Meeting Abstract, 2007 URL

Lawler D. & Sinclair M. (2003), Grieving for Myself: Women's Lived Experiences of Postnatal Depression , Evidence Based Midwifery, 1, (2), 2003, p36 - 41 Journal Article, 2003

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Gallagher, L., Lawler, D. Brady, V., Muldoon, K., McGuinness D., Begley C, Maguire R., An independent evaluation of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) Ireland, Health Service Executive, 2016, p1- Report, 2016

Lalor, J., Lawler, D., Richardson, H. & Murphy-Tighe, S., An Independent Evaluation of Student Parent Support Services , 2015, p1- Report, 2015

Lawler, D. , Closing the loop: access to maternity services for women with a disability. Midwives, Leaders or Mangers?, Closing the Loop Conference, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin , 25th February , 2011 Invited Talk, 2011

Lawler, D. (2010), The strengths and weaknesses of the publicly-funded health services for women with a physical disability, Irish Wheelchair Association, Dublin, 8th November 2010, 2010 Invited Talk, 2010

Begley, C., Lawler, D., Lalor, J., Higgins, A., Sheerin, F., Nicholl, H., Alexander, J., Keenan, P., Tuohy., T. & Kavanagh, R. (2010), The Strengths and Weaknesses of Publicly-funded Irish Health Services Provided to Women with Disabilities in Relation to Pregnancy, Childbirth and Early Motherhood, National Disability Authority, Dublin, National Disability Authority, Feburary 2010, 2010, 1, 295 Report, 2010 URL

Lawler, D., Lalor, J. & Kavanagh, R. , Focus group dynamics: changes in participant behaviour when the facilitator is a wheelchair user, 15th International Interdisciplinary Conference, Qualitative Health Research , Vancouver, Canada, 6th October , 2009, pp1- Conference Paper, 2009 URL

Begley, C., Higgins, A., Lalor, J., Alexander, J., Nicholl, H., Lawler, D., Keenan, P., Tuohy, T., Kavanagh, R. , Women with disabilities: policies governing procedure and practice in service provision in Ireland during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. , Dublin, National Disability Authority, 2009 Report, 2009 TARA - Full Text URL

Begley, C., Lawler, D., Lalor, J., Higgins, A., Sheerin, F., Nicholl, H., Alexander, J., Keenan, P., Tuohy., T. & Kavanagh, R. (2009), Women with Disabilities: Barriers and Facilitators to Accessing Services During Pregnancy, Childbirth and Early Motherhood: Literature Review, Nationl Disability Authority, Dublin, National Disability Authority, Feburary 2009, 2009, 1, 195 Report, 2009 URL

Lawler, D. & Lalor, J., Interviewing women with a sensory disability - reflections on the impact of the disability on the interaction. Focus group dynamics: changes in participant behaviour when the facilitator is a wheelchair user, 15th International Interdisciplinary Conference, Qualitative Health Research, Vancouver, Canada , 6th October 2009, 2009, pp1- Meeting Abstract, 2009 URL

Begley, C., Lawler, D., Lalor, J., Higgins, A., Sheerin, F., Nicholl, H., Alexander, J., Keenan, P., Tuohy., T. & Kavanagh, R. (2009), Women with Disabilities: Policies Governing Procedure and Practice in Service Provision in Ireland During Pregnancy, Childbirth and Early Motherhood, National Disability Authority, Dublin, National Disability Authority, Feburary 2009, 2009, 1, 189 Report, 2009 URL

Research Expertise

Description

While Denise in interested in any aspect of maternity/midwifery care specific research interests include psychological responses to pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood, postnatal depression, postnatal care, maternity care provision and human rights. For her PhD, Denise explored the transition to motherhood from the perspective and experiences of women with a disability. Between 2007- 2009 Denise was the research assistant on a national study commissioned by the National Disability Authority (NDA) exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the publicly funded health services for women with disabilities during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. In 2002 as part requirement of an MSc in Advanced Midwifery programme Denise conducted a study into women's lived experiences of Postnatal Depression. The findings were disseminated at national and international conferences. In 2003 the study was published in a peer reviewed journal.

Projects

  • Title
    • Exploring the transition to motherhood from the perspective and experiences of women with a disability in contemporary Ireland.
  • Summary
    • Becoming a mother is considered to be a normative adult developmental experience (Faber, 2000). In Ireland, a large number of women are mothers or can expect to become mothers at some stage in their life cycle (Weaver and Ussher, 1997). Society expects mothers to engage in a range of diverse activities including the provision of an environment which stimulates and enriches their child's physical, psychological, cognitive, social and emotional development. Meeting these expectations can be challenging for some mothers, especially for women with a physical disability or sensory impairment. Research Aim: The study aims to explore, describe and understand how women with a pre-existing physical disability or sensory impairment negotiate a revised identity during the process of becoming a mother in comtemporary Ireland. Objectives: 1. To explore how women with a pre-existing physical disability or sensory impairment negotiate a revised identity during the process of becoming a mother. 2. To explore the views of women with a pre-existing physical disability or sensory impairment, in relation to their experiences of establishing an interpersonal relationship and the interaction thereafter with health professionals during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood. 3. To explore whether or not the actions of health professionals influence how women with a pre-existing physical disability or sensory impairment negotiate a revised identity during the process of becoming a mother.
  • Funding Agency
    • School of Nursing and Midwifery, TCD Research Stipend
  • Date From
    • Nov 2007
  • Date To
    • Sept 2012
  • Title
    • Exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the publicly finded health services for wmoen with disabilities during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood.
  • Summary
    • Aim: To explore the strengths and weaknesses of the publicly funded Irish health services provided to the following groups of women: (a) Women with a visual impairment (b) Women with a hearing impairment (c) Women with a physical disability (d) Women with a mental health difficulty (e) Women with an intellectual disability Objectives: a) To review Irish and international literature on the challenges facing women with disabilities in accessing health services during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood (i.e. within the first 2 years), (b) To document and review current policy governing procedure and practice in service provision at :- (i) HSE level unit level (ii) hospital/maternity unit level (iii) relevant professional body level for women with disabilities who need to access publicly funded Irish health services during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood; (c) To provide a commentary on the state of such policy development in Ireland vis-à-vis the international situation; (d) To ascertain and explore the views and experiences of women with disabilities, throughout the country and across all socio-economic groupings, in relation to - the strengths and weaknesses they encountered in publicly funded Irish health services during pregnancy, childbirth and in the first two years of motherhood, - their experiences of accessing General Practitioners, Midwives, Obstetricians, Neonatologists, Paediatricians, Allied Health Professionals, - Public Health Nurses and Public Health Doctors, health care workers, family support workers, and - the service they received from these people; (e) To make clear recommendations as to how the experience of engaging with the various publicly funded Irish health service providers during pregnancy, childbirth and early motherhood could be improved for women with disabilities, and to do this in such a way as to maximise the likelihood of the report influencing policy-making.
  • Funding Agency
    • National Disability Authority (NDA)
  • Date From
    • November 2007
  • Date To
    • Feburary 2010
  • Title
    • Women's Experiences of Vaginal Examination in Labour: A Meta-Study
  • Funding Agency
    • N/A
  • Date From
    • Nov 2010
  • Date To
    • May 2012
  • Title
    • An evaluation of a Student Parent support Service
  • Funding Agency
    • Crisis Pregnancy Agency and HSE
  • Date From
    • Feb 2015
  • Date To
    • May 2015

Keywords

Discrimination; Equality rights; Feminism and psychology; History of Irish feminist movement; Human rights; LABOUR; LABOUR SATISFACTION; MIDWIFERY; MIDWIVES; Minorities and Disadvantaged; POSTNATAL ADAPTATION; POSTNATAL DEPRESSION; Public Health Law; SERVICE PROVISION; SERVICES; Women's studies

Recognition

Awards and Honours

Research Stipend, Trinity College Dublin

MSc in International Relations

Memberships

Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann (the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland) 1993 – ongoing

Member of the All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE) March 2013 – present