Ms Sara Kenyon PhD, MA, RM

Ms Sara Kenyon

Institute of Applied Health Research
Reader in Evidence Based Maternity Care

Contact details

Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Institute of Applied Health Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, B15 2TT

Sara Kenyon is a maternity researcher (midwife by background) and national policy maker with a proven track record of successful funding and delivery of clinical trials.

Sara is currently leading two RCT’s in maternity care.

HOLDS- which is a pilot for a larger trial of high versus standard dose oxytocin for delay in labour for nulliparous women at term.

ELSIPS- which is an evaluation of the Pregnancy Outreach Worker service for women identified with social risk.

Sara was Chief Investigator for ORACLE Children Study which successfully completed follow-up study of over 8000 children whose mothers joined ORACLE Trial and was published in the Lancet. She was Group lead for the NICE Intrapartum Care guideline and currently leads the Intrapartum Clinical Study Group. She is Co-applicant on the INFANT trial and is on a number of Trial Steering Committees (Opptimum, Boost and Birth Place)  


  • 2009 - PhD  Lauder prize nomination
    Researching preterm birth:
    The ORACLE Trial and the Children Study
    University of Leicester
  • 2001 - MA in Applied Health Studies
    De Montfort University, Leicester
  • 1982 - Registered Midwife (RM)
    PIN Number 76Y0552E
    Kings College Hospital, London
  • 1979 - Registered Nurse (RN)
    Guy’s Hospital, London


Sara Kenyon qualified as a midwife at King’s College in London in 1982, where she worked as a midwife for 18 months before taking a post in Obstetric Ultrasound. During the 10 years she worked there she pioneered midwives scanning and was a founding member and Chair of Antenatal Results and Choices –offering information and support to women regarding antenatal screening – now established for 20 years.

In 1992 Sara joined David Taylor in Leicester as the Research Midwife on the ORACLE trial, which evaluated the use of antibiotics (erythromycin and co-amoxiclav) for women in threatened preterm labour using a 2x2 factorial design. The trial randomised 11,055 women worldwide and reported in the Lancet in 2001. Sara developed the model of midwives working for the trial within a maternity hospital and facilitating recruitment. Such a model has been used by numerous other maternity trials (MAGPIE, BOOST, INFANT)

In 2002 Sara became Chief Investigator for ORACLE Children Study which successfully followed-up over 8000 children whose mothers joined ORACLE Trial. This has included leading a team of co-applicants and office staff, innovative collection of data on educational attainment, achieving a response rate of over 70% and publication in the Lancet in 2008.

During this time Sara was Group lead for the NICE Intrapartum Care guideline and successfully led a multi disciplinary group to reach consensus through many complex issues with potential for confrontation with humour and tact.

Sara moved to Birmingham in January 2009 as a Senior Lecturer to work with Christine MacArthur on the CLAHRC for Birmingham and the Black Country.

She is currently leading two RCTs

HOLDS (funded by RfPB) is a pilot in three sites – Birmingham Women’s Hospital, Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Newcastle- for a larger trial to evaluate standard versus high dose oxytocin for nulliparous women with confirmed delay in labour. This will go forward to the HTA in autumn 2011 for funding of the larger trial.

ELSIPS (funded by the CLAHRC) is an evaluation of the Pregnancy Outreach Worker service for women identified with social risk factors. Recruitment is above target and should be completed by the end of 2011, with the results following late in 2012.

Sara has a passion for evidence based medicine and currently has two Cochrane reviews (one on antibiotics for preterm rupture of the membranes and one on high versus low dose oxytocin for delay in labour). She has developed strong links with the local maternity hospital (Birmingham Women’s) and is developing a number of other trials from the areas identified by the clinicians as being of concern. She has spoken widely on both antibiotics for preterm labour, intrapartum care and labour dystocia.

She is currently leading the Clinical Study Group for Intrapartum care, co-applicant on INFANT, and on the Trial Steering Committee for OPPTIMUM, BOOST and Birth Place.


Teaching Programmes

Postgraduate supervision

Sara is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the following areas:

  • Intrapartum care and methods to improve outcomes for women with identified social risk.

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Sara on the contact details above, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email: or call +44 (0)121 414 5005.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.   





Intrapartum care
Women with social risk factors

Other activities

Department of Health

2010- date 

Member of Data Monitoring committee for Building Blocks Trial

Medical Research Council

2008 - date

Member of Trial Steering Committee for the OPTTIMUM Trial.

2006 – date

Member of the Trial Steering Committee for the BOOST Trial.

2003 – date

Membership of the College of Experts now the Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation EME programme.

National Institute for Clinical Excellence

2006 – date

Member of the Topic Selection Panel for Children, Adolescents, Maternity.

NHS Health Technology Assessment Programme

2008- date

Co-applicant on INFANT Trial

2004 – date

Member of the Referees Panel.

NHS Service Delivery and Organisation Programme

2006 – date

Member of the Birthplace Advisory Group.

Moulton Trust Foundation

2005 – date

Co-applicant and member of the Trial Steering Committee for the RELAX Trial.


2008 – date

Member of the Clinical Study Group for Preterm Birth

2011- date

Chair of Clinical Study Group for Intrapartum Care



Member of the IMPAC review Group


Jones DR, Pike K, Kenyon S, Pike L, Henderson B, Brocklehurst P, Marlow N, Salt A, Taylor DJ (2011) Routine educational outcome measures in health studies: Key Stage 1 in the ORACLE Children Study follow-up of randomized trial cohorts. Archives of Diseases in Childhood. Jan;96(1):25-9.

Bakali E, Pitchforth E, Kenyon S, Jones DR, Tincello DG, the CARPET 1 Trial Group. (2011) Clinicians' views on feasibility of surgical randomised trials: questionnaire survey for the CARPET 1 trial. Neurourol Urodyn Jan;30(1):69-74. doi: 10.1002/nau.20943.
Jackson CJ, Dixon-Woods M, Eborall H, Kenyon S, Toozs-Hobson P, Tincello DG. (2010)
Women’s views and experiences of a patient preference trial in surgery: a qualitative study of the CARPET 1 trial, Clinical Trials Dec;7(6):696-704.DOI: 10.1177/1740774510381286

Kenyon S, Boulvain M, Neilson JP. (2010)  Antibiotics for preterm rupture of membranes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD001058. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001058.pub2.

Farrell B, Kenyon S, Shakur H. Managing clinical trials. (2010) Trials, 11:78.

Kenyon S, Pike K, Jones DR, Brocklehurst P, Marlow N, Salt A, Taylor DJ. (2010 )Has publication of the results of the ORACLE Children Study changed practice in the UK? British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.; DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2010.02661.x

Tincello DG, Kenyon S, Slack M, Toozs- Hobson P, Mayne C, Jones DR, Taylor DJ (2009) Colposuspension or TVT with anterior repair for urinary incontinence and prolapse: results of and lessons from a pilot randomised patient preference study (CARPET 1) British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 116:1809–1814.

Hutzal CE , Boyle EM, Kenyon SL, Nash JV,  Winsor S, Taylor DJ, Kirpalani H. (2008) Use of antibiotics for the treatment of preterm parturition and prevention of neonatal morbidity: a meta analysis. America Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.199 (6):620; e1-8.