Professor Sara Kenyon PhD, MA, RM

Professor Sara Kenyon

Institute of Applied Health Research
Professor of Evidence Based Maternity Care

Contact details

Murray Learning Centre
Institute of Applied Health Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Sara Kenyon is midwife by background who leads a programme of maternity research. This includes the large randomised controlled trials, mixed methods studies and implementation studies.

She is also a collaborator on the UK confidential enquiries into maternal and perinatal death (MBRRACE UK).  


  • PhD 'Researching preterm birth: The ORACLE trial and the Children Study' University of Leicester, 2009.
  •  MA Applied Health Studies De Montfort University, 2001.
  • Diploma in Professional Studies in Midwifery, South Bank University, 1993.

Professional qualifications:

Registered midwife PIN 76Y0552E


Professor Kenyon performs the following teaching activities:

•           Supervises Public Health PoSH Intercalation (undergraduate medical student) dissertations

•           Facilitates Small Group Teaching for Evidence Based Medicine Module

•           Member of the Institute IMPACT/PPI group.

•           Admissions tutor for the Masters in Public Health

•           Facilitates Integrated Problem sessions for the MBCHB Undergraduates

•           Facilitates the Small Group teaching sessions for Maternal Health

•           Supervises Masters in Public Health (MPH) projects as appropriate

•           Supervises HIER projects for MBCHB Undergraduates

•           Personal Tutor for MPH students

•           Undertakes marking of assignments for the MPH course

•           Undertakes marking of MBChB Epidemiology Methods course

  •          Undertakes marking for the MBChB Maternal Health course


Research interests

Professor Sara Kenyon is a midwife by background and a maternity researcher and policy maker. She currently leads a varied programme of applied health research.

This includes leading the maternity theme of the Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) in the West Midlands where there is involvement in service change at every level, from evaluating services in existence to developing and evaluating new services and translating evidence into practice. Methodologies employed ensure the most robust possible design and are tailored to the topic concerned and the timelines required. More details can be found on the NIHR ARC Theme 4: Maternity Services website.

As part of the work undertaken by the ARC Maternity Theme Professor Kenyon has co- developed (with Dr Nina Johns) the Birmingham Symptom specific Obstetric Triage System (BSOTS). BSOTS includes a prompt and brief (takes about 5 minutes) assessment (triage) of the women within 15 minutes of on presentation, and then a standardised way of determining the clinical urgency in which they need to be seen using a four category scale.  The maternity triage system is now recommended in England and over 80 maternity units have implemented the system. More information can be found on the  BSOTS Public Page

With Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Sara has also led the development of advice for telephone triage to standardise which women should attend.

Professor Kenyon is the Chief Investigator for the iHOLDS trial (High or Low Dose Syntocinon for induction of labour) which is funded by the NIHR HTA. This multicentre trial will provide robust evidence about the optimal dose regimen of Syntocinon (oxytocin) for nulliparous women for whom it is prescribed as part on the induction of labour process with confirmed delay in the first stage of labour.

Professor Kenyon’s national roles include being part of the MBRRACE collaboration since 2011, investigating maternal deaths, stillbirths and infant deaths, including the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Perinatal Deaths. She is involved in both the maternal confidential enquiry and co-chairs the perinatal confidential enquiries.

She is part of the collaboration  funded by HQIP in 2017 on behalf of DH (England), NHS Wales and Scottish Government to develop and establish a national standardised Perinatal Mortality Review Tool (PMRT). The PMRT is used by all UK Trusts and has been designed with user and parent involvement to support high quality standardised perinatal reviews on the principle of 'review once, review well'.

Professor Kenyon is co-applicant on a number of other studies

•           Involving parents and staff in learning from child deaths.

Funded by Research for Patient Benefit this study, led by Dr Jo Garstang, will use co-design methods to develop a range of materials to support parents’ involvement in child death review

•           Listen2Baby

Listen2Baby is three-year programme, funded by the NIHR, which is aiming to improve the way that midwives monitor the fetal heart for women who are having an uncomplicated labour. The programme is being led by Associate Professor Rachel Rowe from National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit in Oxford.


Professor Kenyon regularly speaks at conferences and has published widely. She sits on a number of trial steering committees and until recently was the Deputy Chair of the HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship Scheme Panel.

Other activities

  • 2022    NIHR Senior Investigator
  • 2021    Fellow of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • 2019    Fellow of Royal College of Midwives


Recent publications


Cross-Sudworth, F, Taylor, B & Kenyon, S 2024, 'Community postnatal care delivery in England since Covid-19: A qualitative study of midwifery leaders' perspectives and strategies', Women and birth : journal of the Australian College of Midwives, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 240-247.

Vousden, N, Bunch, K, Kenyon, S, Kurinczuk, JJ & Knight, M 2024, 'Impact of maternal risk factors on ethnic disparities in maternal mortality: a national population-based cohort study', The Lancet Regional Health - Europe, vol. 40, 100893.

UK Audit and Research Collaborative in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (UKARCOG) Members 2024, 'Induction of labour care in the UK: A cross-sectional survey of maternity units', PLoS ONE, vol. 19, no. 2, e0297857.

MacLellan, J, McNiven, A & Kenyon, S 2024, 'Provision of interpreting support for cross-cultural communication in UK maternity services: A Freedom of Information request', International Journal of Nursing Studies Advances.

Cross-Sudworth, F, Taylor, B, Davidson , L, Quinn, L, Wright, J, Vitue, E & Kenyon, S 2023, 'Women's experiences of induction of labour during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional survey', British Journal of Midwifery, vol. 31, no. 10, pp. 548-557. Sections PDF/EPUB

MBRRACE-UK Collaboration 2022, 'A national cohort study and confidential enquiry to investigate ethnic disparities in maternal mortality', EClinicalMedicine, vol. 43, 101237.

Cosstick, E, Nirmal, R, Cross-Sudworth, F, Knight, M & Kenyon, S 2022, 'The role of social risk factors and engagement with maternity services in ethnic disparities in maternal mortality: a retrospective case note review', EClinicalMedicine, vol. 52, 101587.

Morad, S, Pitches, D, Girling, A, Taylor, B, Fradd, V, MacArthur, C & Kenyon, S 2021, '24 hour consultant obstetrician presence on the labour ward and intrapartum outcomes in a large unit in England: a time series analysis', PLOS One, vol. 16, no. 3, e0249233.

Kokab, F, Jones, E, Goodwin, L, Taylor, B & Kenyon, S 2021, 'Community Midwives views of postnatal care in the UK; a descriptive qualitative study', Midwifery, vol. 104, 103183.

Goodwin, L, Skrybant, M & Kenyon, S 2021, 'Involving and engaging pregnant women in maternity-related research: reflections on an innovative approach', Research Involvement & Engagement, vol. 7, no. 1, 90.

Knight, M, Bunch, K, Kenyon, S, Tuffnell, D & Kurinczuk, JJ 2020, 'A national population-based cohort study to investigate inequalities in maternal mortality in the United Kingdom, 2009-17', Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 392-398.,

Rowe, RE, Draper, E, Kenyon, S, Bevan, C, Dickens, J, Forrester, M, Scanlan, R, Tuffnell, D & Kurinczuk, J 2020, 'Intrapartum-related perinatal deaths in births planned in midwifery-led settings in Great Britain: findings and recommendations from the ESMiE confidential enquiry', BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, vol. 127, no. 13, pp. 1665-1675.

McKnight, P, Goodwin, L & Kenyon, S 2019, 'A systematic review of asylum-seeking women's views and experiences of UK maternity care', Midwifery, vol. 77, pp. 16-23.

Daley, A, Jolly, K, Jebb, S, Roalfe, A, Mackillop, L, Lewis, A, Clifford, S, Usman, MUHAMMAD, Ohadike, CO, Kenyon, S, MacArthur, C & Aveyard, P 2019, 'Effectiveness of a behavioural intervention involving regular weighing and feedback by community midwives within routine antenatal care to prevent excessive gestational weight gain: POPS2 randomised controlled trial', BMJ open, vol. 9, no. 9, e030174.


Rowe, R, Draper, ES, Kenyon, S, Bevan, C, Dickens, J, Forrester, M, Scanlan, R, Tuffnell, D & Kurinczuk, JJ 2021, 'Authors' reply re: Intrapartum-related perinatal deaths in births planned in midwifery-led settings in Great Britain: findings and recommendations from the ESMiE confidential enquiry', BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, vol. 128, no. 10, pp. 1712-1713.

View all publications in research portal


Midwifery lead for 'MBRRACE-UK'