Stella Villarmea: Values-based Practice in Childbirth

Stella Villarmea: Values-based Practice in Childbirth

On this page

Stella Villarmea: Values-based Practice in Childbirth
Stella Villarmea: Values-based Practice in Childbirth

Individual Partner: Stella Villarmea

Professor of Philosophy, Complutense University of Madrid

Marie S. Curie Fellow, University of Oxford

Preferred contact: Stella.villarmea@ucm.es

Website: https://ucm.academia.edu/StellaVillarmea

Resident in: Spain;

Working in: Spain;

Stella Villarmea: Values-based Practice in Childbirth

Profile and CVs

Stella Villarmea is Professor of Philosophy at the Complutense University of Madrid. She currently does research on the philosophy of birth, i.e., on how our notions of childbirth reflect our view of the human being. She is interested in conceptual innovation and the relationship between knowledge and emancipatory action. She has also worked on epistemology (e.g., Wittgenstein and scepticism), philosophy of feminism (e.g., Haraway and Levinas), and meta-philosophy (e.g., Moore and Kant).

As Marie S. Curie Fellow at the University of Oxford, she developed a philosophical understanding of conflicts and consensus around birth in the research project, “Controversies in Childbirth: from Epistemology to Practices (VOICE´s)”, funded by the European Commission. As IP of the project “Philosophy of Birth: Rethinking the Origin from Medical Humanities”, funded by the Ministry of Economy of Spain, she led an international and interdisciplinary team of experts on birth  and birth care.

She received the Special Distinction of Excellence for her 20 year-teaching former career at the University of Alcalá. She has been Visiting Professor at the Universities of Humboldt, Lund, Paderborn, Kent, and Marie Curie-Lublin, and Adjunct Professor at the University of Saint Louis, Madrid-Missouri.

She presently serves on the Steering and Gender Committees of the International Federation of Philosophical Associations (FISP). She also served as  Speaker on the International Association of Women Philosophers (IAPh) and as Board Member on Red Española de Filosofía [Spanish Network of Philosophy] (REF).

Stella was the Director of the II International Conference on the Philosophy of Birth, the II Festival of Philosophy ‘Bread and Circuses: Slaveries in 21st Century’, and the XV IAPh Symposium: ‘Philosophy and Feminist Practices’, and a regular organiser of outreach events in philosophy. My writing for general audiences – on philosophy, gender, childbirth, and democracy – has appeared in El País and The Conversation.


Biographical Profiles

Read More: Extract Full CV

Read More: VBP Profile

Stella Villarmea: Values-based Practice in Childbirth

VOICEs EU Research Programme – Controversies in Childbirth 

Marie S. Curie Research Project – Controversies in Childbirth: from Epistemology to Practices (VOICEs)

Faculty of Philosophy/The Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice at St Catherine´s College

University of Oxford

The project ‘Controversies in Childbirth: from Epistemology to Practices (VOICEs)’ addresses a number of current debates on birth from engaged areas of philosophy and the medical humanities.

The project was supported by the European Union´s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 787646 Controversies in Childbirth: from Epistemology to Practices (VOICEs)

Read More: Further details on the Controversies in Childbirth programme

Read More: Summary and Results


Read More: Key Dissemination Links:


Results

The project had a wide range of outputs across several fields:

  • (2020) Villarmea, S., “Reasoning from the uterus: Casanova, women´s agency, and philosophy of birth”, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, 36:1.
  • (2020) Villarmea, S. and Kelly, B., “Barriers to establishing shared decision-making in childbirth: Unveiling epistemic stereotypes about women in labour”, Journal of Evaluation of Clinical Practice 26, 515–519 (https://doi.org/10.1111/jep.13375).
  • (2020) Villarmea, S., “When a uterus comes in the door, reason goes out the window”, in C. Pickles y J. Herring (eds.), Women’s Birthing Bodies and the Law: Unauthorised Medical Examinations, Power and Vulnerability, Oxford, Hart Publishing (https://www.bloomsburyprofessional.com/uk/womens-birthing-bodies-and-the-law-9781509937578/).
  • (2021) Villarmea, S., “Philosophy of Birth: from Epistemology to Practices”, The Project Repository Journal (PRJ), European Dissemination Media Agency (EDMA), issue 8, January. (https://www.europeandissemination.eu/the-project-repository-journal).
  • (2021) Villarmea, S. (ed.), Special issue/cluster “Philosophy of Birth”, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, 37:1. Work-in-progress.
  • (2018) Villarmea, S., “Razón y útero: el debate ilustrado y la obstetricia contemporánea [Reason and uterus: The debate during the Enlightenment and contemporary obstetrics]”, in J. Borrego y C. Barroso (eds.), Mujer, cerebro y salud, Madrid, Síntesis, pp. 141-177, ISBN: 9788491712381. (https://www.sintesis.com/neurociencias-211/mujer,%20cerebro%20y%20salud-ebook-2610.html).
  • (2019) Villarmea, S. “¿Cuándo pierde una mujer el derecho a decidir cuándo parir [When does a woman lose her right to decide when to give birth]?”, El País, 26 April 2019 (https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/04/26/mamas_papas/1556284551_501990.html).
  • (2020) Olza, I. et al., “Birth as a neuro-psycho-social event: An integrative model of maternal experiences and their relation to neurohormonal events during childbirth”, coauthored, PLoS ONE 15 (7): e0230992. (https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0230992).
  • (2020) Uvnas-Möberg, K. et al., “Maternal plasma levels of oxytocin during breastfeeding: A systematic review”, coauthored, PLoS ONE 15 (8): e0235806. (https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0235806).

  • “Values in childbirth: from epistemology to practices”, Advanced Research Seminar on Values-based Practice, St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford, 5 December 2018. 
  • “Repensando el origen desde las humanidades médicas [Rethinking the origin from medical Humanities]”, Research Seminar in Filosofía del Nacimiento [Philosophy of Birth] (FILNAC/PHILBIRTH), University of Alcalá, Madrid, 22 October 2018.
  • “Socio-philosophical perspectives in maternal care”, in EU BIRTH Conference: “From Health to Birth”, COST Action IS1405 (BIRTH), Lissabon, 17 September 2018.
  • “When the uterus enters the door, reason goes out the window”, Without Consent Seminar: “Vaginal examination during labour”, Exeter College, University of Oxford, 8 February 2019.
  • “Controversies in childbirth”, Wolfson Research Seminar, Wolfson College, University of Oxford, 26 February 2019. 
  • “¿Cuándo pierde una mujer el derecho a decidir cómo parir? [When does a woman lose her right to decide when to give birth?]”, II Ciclo Jornadas Abiertas sobre Género, Diversidad sexual y Derecho [II Conference on Gender, Sexual Diversity and the Law], University of León (Spain), 12 May 2019. 
  • “Barriers to establishing shared decision-making in obstetrics” (co-presented with Dr. Brenda Kelly), Shared Decision Making: Person-Centred Care & The Values Agenda Conference (SDM-I), University of West London, 26 March 2019.
  • “The tension in the labour room: the law and the practice”, Concerning Maternity: Ethics, Care and Subjectivity Conference, University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, 7 May 2019.
  • “How to conceptualise the pregnant/laboring subject as a rational subject”, Judging Women Workshop, St Anne´s College, University of Oxford, 3 May 2019. 
  • “A reconstruction of the logos of genos”, 1st Philosophy of Birth Conference: Rethinking the Origin from Medical Humanities, in association with the research projects ERC Starting Grant BUMP (University of Southampton) and Ministry of Economy of Spain FILNAC/PHILBIRTH (University of Alcalá), University of Alcalá, Madrid, 27 May 2019.
  • “Capacity and autonomy during labour? Unveiling stereotypes in birth”, XXVIII World Congress of the International Association of Women Philosophers (IAPh): “2020: Defining the Future, Rethinking the Past”, Universität Paderborn, 19-22 July 2020. [Postponed to July 2021, due to Covid-19.]
  • “Unveiling the Stereotype: Capacity and Autonomy during labour?”, Women’s Health@Oxford, The George Institute for Global Health, University of Oxford, 4 October 2019.
  • “Women´s agency and philosophy of birth”, Childbirth – A View from the Humanities Conference, Women’s and Gender Studies Department, Humanities Faculty, University of Haifa, 5-7 May 2020. [Postponed to May 2021, due to Covid-19.]
  • “¿Cuándo pierde una mujer el derecho a decidir cómo parir? [When does a woman lose her right to decide when to give birth?]”, II Ciclo Jornadas Abiertas sobre Género, Diversidad sexual y Derecho [II Conference on Gender, Sexual Diversity and the Law], University of León (Spain), 12 May 2019.
  • Meeting of the COST Action IS1405 (BIRTH): “Building intrapartum research through health- an interdisciplinary whole system approach to understanding and contextualizing physiological labour and birth”, Valetta, Malta, 5-6 November 2018.
  • Women’s choice in childbirth – Really? Webinar in conjunction with the Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice – June 30 2021
  • President of the 1st Philosophy of Birth Conference: Rethinking the Origin from Medical Humanities, University of Alcalá, Madrid, 27 May 2019. 
  • President of the International Conference “What Matters to Whom: Getting it Right in Childbirth – An exploratory Seminar in Values-based Practice in Childbirth”, with Ashok Handa, Soo Downe, Brenda Kelly, and Bill Fulford as co-convenors, and the support of The George Institute for Global Health, The Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice at St Catherine’s College and the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, 18 March 2020. [Postponed to May 2021, due to Covid-19.] 
  • The Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice Research Seminar, St Catherine´s College, University of Oxford, 19 September, 21 November, and 5 December 2018.
  • Introduction to Critical Theory, Prof. Alice Crary, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, January-March 2019.
  • iSkills: Finding stuff – scholarly literature for your research, IT Learning Center, IT Services, University of Oxford, 30 January 2019.
  • Referencing: Choosing and using software for referencing, IT Learning Center, IT Services, University of Oxford, 12 February 2019.
  • Conference “Simon’s Case, Simon’s Story: Delusion as a Case Study in Neuroscience and Values-based Practice” by Prof. Bill Fulford, The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, 13 March 2019.
  • “Patient Values in Clinical Decision Making and VBP Workshop”, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry, 11 April 2019.
  • “Normal Birth Conference”, Grange Hotel, Grange over Sands, Cumbria, 19, 20, and 21 June 2019.
  • “Culture and Value after Wittgenstein”, The Queen´s College, University of Oxford, 30 August-2 September 2019.
  • Post Kantian Seminar, University of Oxford, January-March 2020.
  • Seminar on Psychoanalysis, “Writing on clitoris”, University of Oxford, 27 January 2020.
  • “Autonomy in Medical Consent”, Joanna Demaree-Cotton, Ethox Centre, University of Oxford, 19 February 2020.
  • Lead Researcher for project, “Controversies surrounding autonomy and responsibility: A care-ethical study into the mother-midwife relation​” (CARE) (854011008), ZonMW-The Netherlands, University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, The Netherlands. PI: Dr. Inge van Nistelrooij.
  • Principal investigator of research project, “Filosofía del nacimiento: Repensar el origen desde las humanidades médicas [Philosophy of birth: Rethinking the origin from medical Humanities]” (FFI2016-77755-R), Ministry of Economy of Spain, National Research Programme, University of Alcalá, Madrid.
  • Researcher of research project, “Building intrapartum research through health – an interdisciplinary whole system approach to understanding and contextualising physiological labour and birth” (BIRTH), European Concerted Research Action (ISCH COST Action IS1405), University of Central Lancashire, PI: Soo Downe.
  • Participant in the Humanities and Healthcare Event, The Oxford Research Center in the Humanities (TORCH), Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford, 12 June 2019.
  • Member of the Steering Committee and Gender Committee of The International Federation of Philosophical Associations (FISP).
  • Founding member and member of the Steering Committee of The International Birth Research and Action Association (IBRAA).
  • Member of the Steering Committee of Red española de Filosofía [The Spanish Network of Philosophy] (REF).
  • Member of Asociación El Parto es Nuestro [Birth is Ours Association].
  • Member of The International Association of Women Philosophers (IAPH).
  • Member of Sociedad Académica del Área de Filosofía (SAF) [Academic Society of Philosophy of Spain].
  • Design and development of PHILBIRTH – Philosophy of Birth Blog and web site, with information and entries on topics related to the project, in English and Spanish. (https://philbirth.wordpress.com/ and https://filnac.wordpress.com/.)
  • Design and development of “FILNAC: Micro-píldoras de pensamiento [PHILBIRTH: Micro-pills of Thought]” series, within El Parto es Nuestro [Birth is Ours] Association Blog.
  • Blog entry “Innecesárea [Un-necesarean]”, in PHILBIRTH: Micro-pills of Thought series, El Parto es Nuestro Blog, 17 January 2020.(https://www.elpartoesnuestro.es/blog/2020/01/17/innecesarea.)
  • Blog entry “Natality in Hannah Arendt”, in PHILBIRTH: Micro-pills of thought series, El Parto es Nuestro Blog, 19 December 2019. (https://www.elpartoesnuestro.es/blog/2019/12/19/natalidad-en-hannah-arendt.)
  • Interview by journalist Maria Cheng for International Associated Press on the use of abusive practices in maternal health, 11 February 2019. 
  • Video on “Mary Warnock and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990”, for the campaign and calendar “Month of Women Philosophers” by the Red española de Filosofía [The Spanish Network of Philosophy], 2018. [Matt -please add link to Mary Warnock entry in INPPonline/PPP – I think full link is http://inpponline.com/publications/ppp/ppp-origins-aims-and-acknowledgements/baroness-warnock/] 
  • Presentation and posterior debate of “Abandoned”, a new film sharing heartbreaking stories of women denied legal abortion, Wolfson College, University of Oxford, 5 June 2020. The proposal was selected and funded by t he Wolfson Feminist Society. (https://abandoned.film/.) [Posponed to May 2021 due to Covid-19.]
  • Translation of informative leaflet on miscarriage for El Parto es Nuestro [Birth is Ours] Association, November 2018.

Read More: Full report Marie S. Curie Research Project

Stella Villarmea: Values-based Practice in Childbirth

PHILBIRTH UCM Professorship of Excellence Programme – Philosophy of Birth (PHILBIRTH-II)

Philosophy of Birth: A New Logos for Genos (FILNAC-II)
Professorship of Excellence Research Programme Echegaray CM-UCM

Complutense University of Madrid

This project is about why and how we should introduce birth into the canon of subjects explored by philosophy. Birth care brings to the fore fascinating philosophical questions: is a woman in labour a subject with full rights in practice as well as in theory? Can a labouring woman exercise her autonomy in a situation of maximum vulnerability but also maximum lucidity and awareness, as characterises the work of giving birth? What is the relationship between agency, capacity, and pain during and between contractions? Birth care proposes key questions relating to knowledge, freedom, and what it means to be a human being. Nonetheless, giving birth continues to be a blind spot in contemporary prevailing philosophy.

The project is supported by the Echegaray, CM-UCM and V-PRICIT Programme, Madrid.

Stella Villarmea: Values-based Practice in Childbirth

PHILBIRTH Ministry of Economy in Spain Research Programme – Philosophy of Birth (PHILBIRTH-I)

Philosophy of Birth: Rethinking the Origin from Medical Humanities (PHILBIRTH-I)
Professorship of Excellence Research Programme CM-UCM

University of Alcalá, Madrid

This project addressed how our concepts of pregnancy and childbirth reflect our view of the world and of human being. Pregnancy and birth are unique human experiences, not comparable to any other. They involve the generation of a new human being through a deeply intimate process, that can transform not only the pregnant and labouring woman’s body, but also her understanding and assessment of herself and her environment.

The project was supported by the Program for Research, Development and Innovation Oriented to Societal Challenges, Ministry of Economy in Spain, AEI/FEDER/UE, 2016-19 (FFI2016-77755-R).

Stella Villarmea: Values-based Practice in Childbirth

Key Publications of Values-based Practice and Childbirth

There is now a growing range of publications highlighting issues of values around the management of childbirth. The following is a selection of publications arising from the VOICEs Project:

Women frequently have their rights breached during childbirth, and we need to know why this happens before we can fix it effectively. I take an innovative approach to explaining how we can protect women´s rights during childbirth.

The emerging area of philosophy of birth is invaluable, first, to diagnose fallacious assumptions about the relation between the womb and reason, and, ultimately, to challenge potentially damaging narratives with major impact on birth care. 

The philosophical analysis of the history that precedes us adds an illuminating dimension to explain vaginal examinations without consent during labour.

This paper contributes to the recognition of obstetric violence as a human rights violation. It offers conceptual tools to diagnose the impact of gender stereotypes during childbirth and to eliminate women’s discrimination in the field of reproductive health.

While pregnant women and women in labour are autonomous and in full capacity citizens according to the law, they are not always considered as such in clinical practice. I explore what the tension between the law and the practice exactly is.

Stella Villarmea: Values-based Practice in Childbirth

Future Plans 

We are working on plans between Oxford and Complutense Universities for taking forward work on women’s choices and other aspects of values-based practice in childbirth.

What form these take and how they develop depends in part on coronavirus regulations.

As a first step, we organised a Values-based Practice in Childbirth webinar, “Women´s Choices in Childbirth: Really? on 30th June 2021. During the webinar we launched the Values-based Practice in Childbirth Network.

More details to follow.

Quick Links

Search the Values-based Practice Website

Contact Us

If you have any ideas, suggestions or queries or would like further information please contact us

Stella Villarmea: Values-based Practice in Childbirth

WikiVBP Reference Library

The wikiVBP Reference Library aims to provide a focused resource of literature and other materials supporting training, research and policy developments in values-based practice.

Please Click Here to go to the library

Key Areas of Collaboration

Core activities of the Centre are based around three inter-linked areas, Education, Regulation and Integration, together with crosscutting themes of Theory and Practice

Read More about Key Areas of Collaboration

Stella Villarmea: Values-based Practice in Childbirth

Values-based Surgical Care

Values-based practice in surgery is an innovative approach to decision making in surgery, linking science with people.

To read more please Click Here

Training Materials and Resources

Stella Villarmea: Values-based Practice in Childbirth

The CUP Book Series

Cambridge University Press has a VBP book series.

Click here to find out more