Rebecca Benfield has conducted psychophysiological research with spontaneously laboring women at term gestation. Interest areas have included the effects of anxiety and pain interventions (hydrotherapy and epidural analgesia) on uterine contractility, labor progress and stress related neurohormones.
Physiological instruments included: external uterine electromyography (EMG), intrauterine pressure catheter (IUPC), assays of plasma cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, beta-endorphin, oxytocin, vasopressin, and urinary catecholamines and creatinine. Subjective measures of anxiety and pain included: visual analogue scales.
Presently Benfield is completing a retrospective study comparing labor contraction parameters measured by an intrauterine pressure catheter in women before and after a pre-epidural intravascular bolus and epidural analgesia. She has proposed a prospective pilot to measure EMG contractile bursts using this same design.
Benfield was funded by NINR for a K01 Mentored Independent Research Scientist Development Award in 2003 entitled “The Effects of Hydrotherapy on Anxiety and Pain in Labor”. She has reviewed manuscripts for journals, including Biological Research for Nursing, Maternal and Child Health Journal, Journal of Midwifery and & Women’s Health, Gynecological Endocrinology, and International Journal of Nursing Studies and reviewed abstracts for the Society of Gynecologic Investigation, Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science and the American College of Nurse Midwives.
She has also been a panel grant reviewer for the National Science Foundation SBIR/STTR Medical Instrument Grant Proposals. Additionally, she has practiced as a Certified Nurse Midwife for 28 years in a variety of settings including, a tertiary medical center, community hospital, freestanding birth center and Indian Health Hospital in Tuba City Arizona. She has precepted a variety of students including nursing and medical as well as interns and off service residents.
Benfield has an open door policy. She expects students to be self-motivated to achieve timelines and communicate early and often with scheduled meetings throughout the semester.