Nancy Lowe is committed to maximizing the health and well-being of childbearing women, their newborns and their families through evidence-based and cost-effective health care. To maximize positive outcomes and minimize unnecessary costly medical intervention, pregnancy/birth/parenting must be viewed within a holistic, health-promotion framework, a framework that is best constructed by nurse-midwives and other advance practice nurses. Lowe’s primary research foci are biobehavioral aspects of the childbearing experience and its processes, care during labor, and postpartum outcomes of low-risk, nulliparous women at term gestation with a single fetus in a cephalic presentation. In the past 15 years, there has been a dramatic increase in interventions during labor and birth for this group of first-time mothers. Despite this high level of intervention, there have been no improvements in outcomes for these mothers or newborns. For reasons that remain obscure, healthy first-time mothers are particularly vulnerable to a diagnosis of labor dystocia, the most common indication for cesarean delivery in this population.
Lowe’s scholarship focuses on a biobehavioral model of uterine dystocia in first-time mothers and, with her colleague Dr. Jeremy Neal, improving clinical decision-making in the care of these women through the use of a standardized physiologic partograph. Her secondary line of research is an ongoing collaboration with Dr. Nancy Ryan-Wenger (Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH) to develop a field-expedient self-diagnosis and self-treatment kit for deployed military women with genitourinary infection. Lowe is a fellow of both the American Academy of Nursing and the American College of Nurse-Midwives, as well as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing (JOGNN).