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Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculty of Social Sciences
PERLA - Tampere Centre for Childhood, Youth and Family Research

Preventive health care in maternity and child health (MCH) clinics: Changing professional-client relationship, team work and family-centered model


The study focuses on the structural reform in maternity and child health clinics in Tampere: the new family-centered MCH model and its implementation to all the MCH services in the city. MCH clinics are one of the most central ways to influence the well-being of the whole population as it reaches almost all families with children. The new family-centered model extends the focus of preventive maternity and child health care from the health of a pregnant woman and the child to the well-being of the whole family, as well as from preventing somatic problems to also supporting mental health and social well-being. The new model brings several changes to the working methods of the clinic, e.g. by introducing multi-professional teams, questionnaires of the family’s psycho-social situation and continuing relationship with the same public health nurse both during the pregnancy and after the baby is born.

In this study we analyze how this new model works in practice: how the professionals implement the principles of preventive MCH in their daily practice, how clients respond to the changes and how professionals are motivated to follow the new working methods. The study describes the professionals’ practices in the MCH clinics that have recently moved into the new model and the clinics that have followed the model already for a longer period. The results of the study can be used to evaluate the model, train the personnel and to improve the services for families with children nationwide. In addition, the descriptions of the practices, the possibilities and challenges related to them, can help to understand and develop other contexts in preventive health care.

The central focus in the study is on the changing relationship between the professional and the client in MCH. Other focus areas include:

  • Parenthood and family (Tiitinen)
  • Ways of life (Lindfors)
  • Psychosocial support (Ruusuvuori)
  • Team work (Ruusuvuori)
  • Clients and agency (Homanen)


Most recent publications:

Homanen Riikka (2013) Doing Pregnancy, the Unborn, and the Maternity Healthcare Institution. Tampere: Tampere University Press. (Acta Universitatis Tamperensis 1797).

Homanen, Riikka (2013) Syntymätön ja sen suhde raskaana olevaan naiseen neuvolakäytännöissä. Naistutkimus 26(2), 45-48.

Homanen, Riikka (2013) Reflecting on Work Practices: Possibilities for Dialogue and Collaborative Knowledge Production in Institutional Ethnography. In: Phillips, Louise & Kristiansen, Marianne & Vehviläinen, Marja and Gunnarsson, Ewa (eds.) Knowledge and Power in Collaborative Research. A Reflexive Approach. Routledge, New York & London, 213-235.

Tiitinen, Sanni (2015) Supporting parenthood in interaction: A conversation analytic study of maternity and child health clinics. School of Social Sciences and Humanities. University of Tampere. Doctoral thesis.

Tiitinen, Sanni & Ruusuvuori, Johanna (2015) Producing gendered parenthood in child health clinics. Discourse & Society 26(1), 113—132.

Tiitinen, Sanni & Ruusuvuori, Johanna (2014) Encouraging parents to talk about their problems: Multimodal analysis of formulating and gaze in maternity and child health clinics. Research on Language and Social Interaction 47(1), 49-68.

Tiitinen, Sanni & Ruusuvuori, Johanna (2014) Using formulations and gaze to encourage parents to talk about their and their children’s health and well-being. Research on Language and Social Interaction.

Tiitinen, Sanni & Homanen, Riikka & Lindfors, Pirjo & Ruusuvuori, Johanna (2013) Approaches used in investigating family support in transition to parenthood. Health Promotion International, Advance Access published January 8, 2013.

Tiitinen, Sanni & Ruusuvuori, Johanna (2012) Engaging parents through gaze: Speaker selection in three-party interactions in maternity clinics. Patient Education and Counseling 89(1), 38-43.

Complete list of publications


Research team:

PhD, Professor of social psychology Johanna Ruusuvuori
University of Tampere, School of Social Sciences and Humanities
johanna.ruusuvuori (at)

PhD, University lecturer of public health Pirjo Lindfors
University of Tampere, School of Social Sciences and Humanities
pirjo.lindfors (at)

PhD, Researcher Riikka Homanen
University of Tampere, School of Social Sciences and Humanities
riikka.homanen (at)

PhD, Researcher Sanni Tiitinen
University of Tampere, School of Social Sciences and Humanities
sanni.tiitinen (at)

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Last update: 21.4.2017 15.03 Muokkaa

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