Dr Julie Roberts

Research Fellow

Photo shows head and shoulders of a white woman with shoulder length blonde hair and black floral top

School/Department: Population Health Sciences, Department of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 3234



Julie is an experienced qualitative, health researcher with interests in experiences of maternity care, visual culture of pregnancy and birth, and reproductive politics. She is currently working on the PremPath study.

PremPath: Improving the Optimisation and Stabilisation of the Preterm Infant is an NIHR funded study led by Professor Nicola Mackintosh.

There is a national ambition to reduce preterm births and optimise outcomes for preterm babies. Some evidence-based interventions have been shown to reduce the risk of neonatal death and preterm morbidities. These form a nine-element care pathway.  We do not yet understand how this bundle of interventions is working in practice. We want to know what ‘good’ looks like in terms of effective coordination, decision-making (inclusive of parents), parental involvement and staff, women and family experience. 



Edgley, Alison and Julie Roberts. (2021) Love, Fear and Disgust: Deconstructing masculinities and affective embodiment in pregnancy guides for men. Men & Masculinities 24(4): 652-670.

Roberts, Julie, Bennett, Beatrice, Slack, Hannah, Borrelli, Sara, Spiby, Helen, Walker, Louise, and Jomeen, Julie (2021) Midwifery students’ views and experiences of birth on mainstream factual television. Midwifery 92, 102859. DOI: 10.1016/j.midw.2020.102859

Borrelli S., Walker L., Jomeen J., Roberts J., Edgley A., Bennett B., Harton S., Poole G., Robertson K., Slack H., Walmsley A., Spiby H. (2020) Introducing midwifery students to the world of research: building the basis for future leaders in evidence-based practice. MIDIRS Midwifery Digest 30(3): 324-329.

Roberts, J., Evans, K. Spiby, H. Evans, C. Pallotti, P. Eldridge, J. (2020) Women’s information needs, decision-making and experiences of membrane sweeping to promote spontaneous labour. Midwifery 83:  102626.

Roberts, Julie and Helen Spiby. (2020) The calm before the storm’: A qualitative study of fathers’ experiences of early labour. Women and Birth 33(5): 490-495.

Roberts, Julie and Sara De Benedictis (2019) Childbirth on Television: A Scoping Review and Recommendations for Further Research. Feminist Media Studies 21(2): 248-264.

Roberts, Julie (2019) The Ontology of Early Labour (and the difficulties of talking about it): Using interview methods to investigate uncertain and gendered concepts. Methodological Innovations 12(1)

DeBenedictis, Sara, Catherine Johnson, Julie Roberts & Helen Spiby (2019) Quantitative Insights into Televised Birth: A Content Analysis of One Born Every Minute. Critical Studies in Media Communication 36(1): 1-17.

Roberts, Julie and Denis Walsh (2019) ‘“Babies come when they are ready”: Women’s experiences of resisting the medicalisation of prolonged pregnancy’ Feminism & Psychology 29(1): 40-57.

Spiby, Helen; Faucher, Mary Ann; Sands, Gina; Roberts, Julie; Kennedy, Holly (2019) ‘A qualitative study of midwives’ perceptions on using video-calling in early labour.’ Birth 46(1):  105-112.

Roberts, Julie, DeBenedictis, Sara & Spiby, Helen (2017) Love Birth, Hate One Born Every Minute? Birth Community Discourse around Televised Childbirth. In Luce, Ann, Hundley, Vanora & van Teijlingen, Edwin (eds) Midwifery, Childbirth and the Media. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. pp.7-22

Thomas, Gareth, Julie Roberts, Frances Griffiths (2017) ‘Ultrasound as a technology of reassurance? How pregnant women and health care professionals articulate ultrasound reassurance and its limitations.’ Sociology of Health & Illness 39(6): 893-907.

Divall, Bernie, Helen Spiby, Julie Roberts & Denis Walsh (2016) ‘Birth Plans: A narrative review’. International Journal of Childbirth 6(3): 157-172. 

Roberts, Julie, Frances Griffiths, Alice Verran. (2015) ‘Seeing the baby, doing family: commercial ultrasound as family practice?’ Sociology 51(3): 527-542.

Roberts, Julie, Frances Griffiths, Alice Verran, Catherine Ayre (2015). ‘Why women seek commercial ultrasound scans during pregnancy’. Sociology of Health and Illness 37(4): 594-609.

Lovatt, Melanie, Ronni Nanton, Julie Roberts, Christine Ingleton, Bill Noble, Liz Pitt, Kate Seers, Dan Munday (2015) ‘The provision of emotional labour by health care assistants caring for dying cancer patients in the community: a qualitative study into the experiences of health care assistants and bereaved carers.’  International Journal of Nursing Studies 52(1): 271-279.

Staniszewska, Sophie, Felicity Boardman, Lee Gunn, Julie Roberts, Diane Clay, Kate Seers, Jo Brett, Liz Avital, Ian Bullock, Norma O’ Flynn. (2014) ‘The Warwick Patient Experiences Framework: Patient-based evidence in clinical guidelines’. International Journal for Quality in Health Care 26(2): 151-7.

Roberts, Julie (2012) The Visualised Foetus: A Cultural and Political Analysis of Ultrasound Imagery. Ashgate. Reissued Routledge 2017.

Roberts, Julie. (2012) ‘Wakey Wakey Baby: Narrating 4D Bonding Scans’. Sociology of Health and Illness. 34(2): 299-314. Also included in the 18th SHI Monograph ‘Sociology of Screening’. Natalie Armstrong and Helen Eborall (eds).

B.H. Fruhstorfer, J. Palmer, S. Brydges and P. Abrahams. (2010) ‘Plastinated prosections in undergraduate anatomy teaching – student views on the value of this learning resource’.  Clinical Anatomy 24(2):  246-252.

Griffiths, F., G. Bendelow, E. Green, J. Palmer. 2010. Screening for Breast Cancer: Medicalization, Visualization and the Embodied Experience. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Health, Illness and Medicine. 14(6): 653-668.

Palmer, Julie. 2009. The Placental Body in 4D: Everyday Practices of Non-Diagnostic Sonography. Feminist Review 93: 64-80.

Palmer, Julie. 2009. Seeing and Knowing: Ultrasound images in the Contemporary Abortion Debate. Feminist Theory 10(2): 173-189.

Press and media

Online reading group Ultrasound, part of UNBORN0x9 and Permeable Bodies at Art Laboratory Berlin. Recorded 15 July 2023.


Keynote speaker 'Obstetric Ultrasound & Family Practices'. Personal Relationships and Reproductive Technologies. 1st March 2024. BSA Families and Relationships & Human Reproduction Study Groups. De Montfort University.

‘Qualitative remote data collection after Covid: Findings from a realist review.’ Poster presentation. Qualitative Health Research Network Conference 2024, University College London [online]

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