Professor Sara Kenyon PhD, MA, RM

Professor Sara Kenyon

Institute of Applied Health Research
Professor in Evidence Based Maternity Care

Contact details

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

Professor 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 component of the Maternity and Child Health Theme for the CLAHRC 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. 

Professor Kenyon is also the Chief Investigator for the HOLDS trial (High or Low Dose Syntocinon) 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 with confirmed delay in the first stage of labour.

Professor Kenyon’s national roles include being part of the MBRRACE collaboration investigating maternal deaths, stillbirths and infant deaths, including the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Perinatal Deaths. She is also a member of the Wellbeing of Women Advisory Committee and of the HTA Topic Identification, Development and Evaluation (TIDE) panel for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health. HTA TIDE panel. She regularly speaks at conferences and has published widely.

She is an NIHR Midwifery Advocate for Career Development and usually has two midwives undertaking their MRes dissertations under her supervision, as well as a PhD student who is developing a patient reported outcome measure for pregnancy and childbirth.

Professor Kenyon is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), University of Melbourne.

She has lead a Global Alignment of Immunisation safety Assessment in pregnancy (GAIA) consensus group for the Brighton Collaboration which is the world’s largest network of vaccine safety professionals agreeing  the definition of dysfunctional labour.


Professor in Evidence Based Maternity Care

  • 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 is currently working on the NIHR Collaboration for Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) in the West Midlands and leads the Maternity component of the Maternity and Child Health Theme. Current projects include:

  • The implementation and evaluation of an obstetric triage system – Birmingham Symptom specific Obstetric Triage System (BSOTS)- to three maternity units across the West Midlands. BSOTS was developed with Dr Nina Johns and implemented into Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust (BWNFT) in 2012. The system is currently being used by three maternity units in the West Midlands.
  • Place of birth discussions by community midwives with low risk women. The team have used  co-production methods to develop a package to improve the content of discussions with women about their place of birth options. The package includes a training session, leaflet and on going support lead by a champion within each team. This is currently being rolled out to additional sites in the West Midlands together with an evaluation. Early discharge home after birth. The team are undertaking a programme of work looking at the impact of early discharge from hospital.

She is the Chief Investigator for the High or Low Dose Syntocinon Trial (HOLDS) recently funded by the HTA in Autumn 2015. This is a multicentre (around 30 UK obstetric units) randomised, double blind controlled trial which will recruit 1500 nulliparous women at term, with confirmed delay in labour (using NICE definitions) and ruptured membranes. The trial will compare the standard dose regimen (2mU/min increasing every 30 minutes to a maximum of 32mU/min) with a high dose regimen (4mU/min increasing every 30 minutes to a maximum of 64mU/min). The primary outcome is Caesarean section and secondary outcomes include key safety, maternal and neonatal outcomes.


Professor Kenyon performs the following teaching activities:

  • 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

Postgraduate supervision

Professor Kenyon is supervising a PhD student Ayesha Mahmoud to undertake a study to develop a patient reported outcome measure for pregnancy and childbirth.

Professor Kenyon has supervised four MRes students:

  • Jolene Easterbrook and Jo Naylor Smith were awarded their MRes in July 2015.
  • Cindy Meijer was awarded her MRes in 2016
  •  Justine Jeffery will graduate in  the summer 2017.

All students undertook their dissertations on projects suggested and co-supervised by herself and Dr Alistair Hewison from School of Nursing.

Professor Kenyon currently has one MRes student, Vicki Jarvis, who is undertaking a study to explore the views of community midwives of the Maternity Transformation Plans (BUMP)

She has a number of Clinical Academic Internship Fellows, which is a paid scheme for midwives to have a 30 day secondment over six months to have some research experience:

  • Vicki Jarvis
  • Pip McKnight
  • Fiona Cross-Sudworth


Research Groups and Centres

  • Centre for Women's Health and Sciences

Other activities

Professor Kenyon is a member of the 'MBRRACE-UK' collaboration appointed by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) to continue the national programme of work investigating maternal deaths, stillbirths and infant deaths, including the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths (CEMD).

She is also a member of the Wellbeing of Women Research Advisory Committee and Member of the HTA Topic Identification, Development and Evaluation (TIDE) panel for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health.

She was co-applicant for the INFANT trial and sits on a number of Trial Steering Committees.

Professor Kenyon was previously Chief Investigator for ORACLE Children Study which followed up over 8,000 children whose mothers joined the ORACLE Trial which was published in the Lancet.  She previously lead the NICE Intrapartum Care Guideline published 2007 and was the Group lead for the RCOG Intrapartum Clinical Study Group until autumn 2015.  She was among the founding members and Chair of Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC), offering information and support to women regarding antenatal screening – now established for nearly 30 years.


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.

View all publications in research portal


Midwifery lead for 'MBRRACE-UK'