Associate Professor Judith McAra-Couper

profile image

Head of Department Midwifery, Co-Director - Centre for Midwifery & Women's Health Research

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext. 7193


Physical Address:

Room MB 107
AUT South

Postal Address:

Faculty of Health & Environmental Sciences
AUT University
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1142


PG Diploma in Education
Diploma in Midwifery
Registered General and Obstetric Nurse

Teaching Areas:

Critical Hermeneutics/Critical Theory
Qualitative Research
Research Methods
MHSc Thesis supervisor and examiner
PhD Thesis supervisor and examiner

Research Areas:

Place of Birth
Maternal Mental Health
Critical Qualitative Research

Research Summary:

Judith has a longstanding interest in midwifery and issues that impact practice and the health and well being of women and their babies. Her PhD thesis looked at what is shaping the understanding of the public and the practice of health professionals in relation to intervention in childbirth.  Judith is committed to being involved in research that works towards making a difference and in particular making a difference to health outcomes.
Recent research projects have explored issues in relation to sustainability of midwifery practice, place of birth, maternal mental health and access to and engament with maternity services.

Current Research Projects:

Midwives’ perspectives of mental health and maternal mental health. A qualitative descriptive study. Co researchers:  Judith McAra-Couper, Andrea Gilkison, Christine Mellors, Margaret Roberts, Adjunct Professor Mavis Kirkham.

Sustainable Lead Maternity Care (LMC) Midwifery Practice: What sustains Midwives who have been in LMC practice in New Zealand for more than eight years?  Co researchers: Judith McAra-Couper, Andrea Gilkison, Susan Crowther, Marion Hunter, Jackie Gunn, Claire Hotchin

Emotional Wellbeing of Midwives. Co researchers: Lesley Dixon, Karen Guilliland, Jennifer Fenwick, Jenny Gamble, Julie Pallant, Debra Greedy, Mary Sidebotham, Andrea Gilkison, Judith McAra-Couper

Intervention rates and maternal and neonatal outcomes for low risk women labouring in a primary maternity unit or tertiary hospital: Co reseachers Judith McAra-Couper, Annabel Farry, Debra Fenton and Mark Wheldon.


McAra-Couper, J., Gilkison, A., Crowther, S., Hunter, M., Hotchin, C., & Gunn,J. ( 2014). Partnership and reciprocity with women sustain Lead Maternity Carer midwives in practice. NZCOM Journal 49, 23 - 33.

Donald, H., Smythe, L., McAra-Couper, J. (2014). Creating a better work-life balance. NSCOM Journal 49, 5-10

d’ Entremont, M., Smythe, L.,  & McAra-Couper J. (2014). The sounds of silence-a hermeneutic interpretation of childbirth post excision.  Health Care Women International. 35(3). 300-19

Griffith, C., McAra-Couper, J & Nayar, S. (2013).  Staying Involved “Because the Need Seems so Huge”: Midwives working with Women Living  in areas of High Deprivation.  International Journal of  Childbirth, 3(4). 218-232  doi:

Irving, L., McAra-Couper, J., & Smythe L. (2012). Shoulder Dystocia: A qualitative exploration of what works. Midwifery, doi:10,1016/j.midw.2011.05.007

McAra-Couper, J., Jones, M., & Smythe, L. (2011).  Caesarean-section, my body, my choice: The construction of ‘informed choice’ in relation to intervention in childbirth. Feminism and Psychology 22(1) 81-97   

McAra-Couper J. and Hunter M. (2010) Is LSCS a Normal Delivery in the 21st Century?. Obstetric and Gynaecology Magazine 12(4): 16-18.

McAra-Couper, J., Jones, M., & Smythe, L. (2010). Rising rates of Intervention in childbirth.  British Journal of Midwifery 18(3), 160-169


Star Post Doctoral Scholarship 2009