Behind the Science: Empowering Women Through Maternal Health Research In Iran

February 10, 2023

Interviewee: Madelyn Sedehi, Bachelor of Science (Midwifery)  Authors/Editors: Romina Garcia de leon, Shayda Swann (Blog Co-coordinator).

Published: February 10, 2023

Could you please tell us more about the work that you've done in women's health in Iran?

I was educated and worked as a midwife on a multidisciplinary maternity ward at a Golestan Province Hospital, affiliated with the Golestan University of Medical Sciences. I worked in different parts of a maternity ward, including the admission and labour and delivery rooms, and also as a unit manager in the women’s ward. Following that, I worked at a congenital anomaly research centre with a team of gynecologists, pediatricians, and a genetic specialist. We collaborated together to find many different risk factors that may be involved in the development of birth defects. The purpose of our work was to determine how to have a healthy pregnancy and to evaluate how these risk factors are affecting pregnancy outcomes in our area. Some of the areas we worked on were maternal nutrition, pregnancy complications, mortality and morbidity in newborns, maternal knowledge of pregnancy -  especially in youth and young women who were pregnant. We also studied nutrient absorption and even underlying diseases like diabetes or gestational diabetes, as well as conducted experimental research at the university. We’ve published nine articles from this research, three of which I was the first author.

It sounds like you were looking at many different factors in your work. Can you tell us more about that? 

Yes, we worked in a very wide field by working with many different specialists and especially by having an affiliation with the university. We were able to gather and collect data from all over the province to generate a data bank about birth defects, studying related and unrelated factors in our area. 

What led you to become interested in maternal and child health?

I would say it was working as a midwife and being involved with pregnant mothers in many complicated cases, especially the ones who were very young when they got pregnant, based on the culture and traditions in our country, to elevate their level of knowledge toward themselves to be more healthy. I was, and I am, and I always will be passionate about women’s health in the different parts of their life. Women have a very significant role in society, in the family, and for themselves. Being able to educate them as much as we can and give them a chance to know about their body and how they can take care of themselves at different stages of their life is amazing. That’s going to have many different benefits for their family, for themselves, for society, for the government - and, I believe, for everyone. And it starts with research. That’s why it’s great that research opens a gate to accomplish these advancements in different areas of human health and well-being.  

Now that you're in Canada, what kind of research are you interested in?

I’m very much a newcomer! I would really love to get connected with research here, especially in midwifery, and different areas of pregnancy health and outcomes. However, I’m open to pursuing research related to different areas of women’s health, such as depression, maternity care, vaccination, and even psychology. When you have love, passion, hard work, and organization, you can do well as a researcher. When I first started, I didn’t have any experience as a researcher so I learned by myself, and then the university reached out to me and they wanted me to do more. I believe if you love your job and do your best, that keeps you going. Then, you can help other people gain knowledge and skills. I’m very interested in being connected to the research field here! 

Madelyn Sedehi is currently looking to be involved in women’s health research in Vancouver. If you are interested in contacting Madelyn to join your research team, please reach out to her at

Blog Author(s)

  • Blog
  • midwifery
  • pregnancy
  • research
  • women's health

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