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Maria Helena Bastos

  • MD, MSc, PhD
  • Women's Health National Advisor
  • Pan American Health Organization, Brazil
  • 13PublicationsNumber of items in Maria Helena's My Publications folder on Mendeley.
  • 10Followers

Research interests

Social and cultural shaping of maternal health policy and how it influences the organisation and delivery of healthcare and the services that women and their families receive; How professional knowledge and practice is informed and shaped


Having trained and practiced as gynaecologist and obstetrician for almost twenty five years in Brazil, I further developed my research skills in the UK. I am a British Council Chevening Scholar, holding an MSc in Mother and Child Health at the Institute of Child Health, University College London (ICH-UCL). I have a PhD in Midwifery and Women's Health from the University of West London (UWL). I am currently working as Women’s Health National Advisor at PAHO/WHO in Brazil, supporting the Ministry of Health with strategies to change maternity care and improve women’s and children’s health in the country. I continue to have strong links with research and teaching, both with the National School of Public Health (ENSP-Fiocruz) and King's College London (KCL). Before arriving in the UK to further my research and academic skills, I worked as a clinician and lecturer in obstetrics & gynaecology for the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA). As programme officer of REHUNA (Brazilian Network for Humanisation of Birth) in Rio de Janeiro I was a co-founding member of Brazil’s National Association of Doulas (ANDO) – a successful community doula support programme for public maternity hospitals. In the UK I had the opportunity to work with a team of researchers from King’s College London in a Department of Health funded project, developing and field testing a training package for maternity staff in the UK to improve support for normal birth. I have also worked as a systematic reviewer at the National collaborating Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health (NCC-WCH) in the development of clinical practice guidelines. I am a Cochrane Reviewer, currently conducting a systematic review on the effects of psychological debriefing on postnatal women’s mental health following birth.

Followers (10)

Explore network

Following (15)

Publications (5)

  • Reclaiming direct-entry midwifery training in Brazil: context, challenges and perspectives

    • Narchi NZ
    • da Silva LC
    • Gualda DM
    • et al.
  • Abuse in healthcare – the trivialization of violence in maternity care in Brazil.

    • Bastos MH.
  • Using video in the development and field-testing of a learning package for maternity staff: Supporting women for normal childbirth

    • Leap N
    • Sandall J
    • Grant J
    • et al.
  • Debriefing for the prevention of psychological trauma in women following childbirth

    • Bick D
    • Rowan CJ
    • et al.
  • Unlocking the potential of effective care for life-long maternal and infant health: the need to address the 'invisible' service after birth

    • Bick D
    • Bastos MH
    • Diniz SG

Professional experience

Women's Health National Advisor

Pan American Health Organization, Brazil

February 2012 - Present

Visting Research Fellow


October 2011 - Present

Research Assistant

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, NCC-WCH

October 2010 - May 2011(7 months)

Visiting Lecturer MSc course module: Safer Motherhood: policy and practice

Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children - Centre for International Health and Development

April 2005 - April 2010(5 years)

Teaching and Research Assistant

Thames Valley University

April 2005 - April 2010(5 years)

Research Associate Division of Health and Social Care Research - School of Nursing and Midwifery

London, King's College

September 2007 - April 2009(2 years)

Teaching Assistant in Gynaecology at the Medical Faculty

Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine

April 2000 - April 2002(2 years)


PhD in Midwifery and Women's Health

University of West London

April 2005 - April 2011(6 years)

MSc in Mother and Child Health

University College London, Institute of Child Health

September 2003 - September 2004(a year)


Faculdade de Ciencias Medicas UERJ - Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro

March 1981 - December 1986(6 years)