Professor Sara Kenyon PhD, MA, RM

Professor Sara Kenyon

Institute of Applied Health Research
Professor of Evidence Based Maternity Care

Contact details

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

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 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. 

Professor Kenyon is 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.  She is also the Chief Investigator for the iHOLDS trial which is a multicentre trial also funded by the NIHR which will run in the same maternity units as HOLDS to evaluate the optimum dose of syntocinon for nulliparous women for whom it is prescribed as part of the process of induction 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 regularly speaks at conferences and has published widely.  She sits on a number of trial steering committees and is Deputy Chair of the HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic (ICA) Programme Pre-doctoral Clinical Academic Fellowship Scheme Panel.

An NIHR Midwifery Advocate for Career Development, Professor Kenyon usually has two midwives undertaking their MRes dissertations under her supervision, as well as a PhD student who is investigating the use of the Perinatal Mortality Review Tool.

In response to maternity units during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sara has moved the training to be remote for The Birmingham Symptom specific Obstetric Triage System (BSOTS) because so many units wanted to implement the system to improve safety in their triage departments. BSOTS includes a prompt and brief assessment (triage) of the women on presentation, and then a standardised way of determining the clinical urgency in which they need to be seen using a four category scale. With Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Sara has also led the development of standardised advice for telephone triage, helping to prioritise the help women need during the pandemic.

Qualifications

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

Teaching

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

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

Sara is interested in supervising doctoral research students in intrapartum care and methods to improve outcomes for women with identified social risk.

Research

A maternity researcher and national policy maker with a proven track record of successful funding and delivery of clinical trials. Strong communication skills, an ability to analyse complex situations quickly and effectively, and a track record of innovation as demonstrated by achievements. 

Currently working on the NIHR Collaboration for Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) in the West Midlands and leading the Maternity component of the Maternity and Child Health Theme. Developed strong collaborations with the local maternity Trusts (Birmingham Women’s Hospital and Heart of England Foundation Trust) 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. 

Chief Investigator for the High or Low Dose Syntocinon Trial (HOLDS) funded by the HTA in Autumn 2015. This multicentre, pragmatic, randomised, double blind controlled trial will recruit 1500 women from 30 Maternity units to evaluate the effect on CS rate of high dose regimen versus standard dose regimen oxytocin for nulliparous women at term (37-42 weeks gestation) with confirmed delay in the first stage of labour using NICE definitions. 

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). Also a collaborator on the Perinatal Mortality Review Toolkit (PMRT) group leading the development of standardised review of perinatal death review in the UK.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. 

Previously Chief Investigator for ORACLE Children Study. Successful completion of follow-up study of over 8,000 children whose mothers joined the ORACLE Trial. This has included leading a team of co-applicants and office staff, and innovative collection of data on educational attainment, achieving a response rate of over 70% and publication in the Lancet. Previously lead the NICE Intrapartum Care Guideline published 2007 and Group lead for the RCOG Intrapartum Clinical Study Group until autumn 2015. 

Strong desire to involve participants in research and demonstrated ability to combine both quantitative and qualitative research. Founding member and Chair of Antenatal Results and Choices, offering information and support to women regarding antenatal screening – now established for over 20 years.

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 involved in both the maternal confidential enquiry and co-chairs the perinatal confidential enquiries. She is part of the collaboration that was funded byHQIP 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’.

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 investigating the use of the Perinatal Mortality Review Tool. developing a patient reported outcome measure for pregnancy and childbirth. She was appointed as a Fellow of the Royal College of Midwives in 2019.

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.

Publications

Recent publications

Article

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. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0249233

Knight, M, Bunch, K, Kenyon, S, Tuffnell, D & Kurinczuk, J 2020, 'A national population-based cohort study to investigate inequalities in maternal mortality in the UK 2009-17', Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. https://doi.org/10.1111/ppe.12640

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/ppe.12640

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.16327

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2019.06.007

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. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-030174

Price, M, Blake , H, Kenyon, S, White, IR, Jackson, D, Kirkham, JJ, Neilson, J, Deeks, J & Riley, RD 2019, 'Empirical comparison of univariate and multivariate meta-analyses in Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth reviews with multiple binary outcomes', Research Synthesis Methods, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 440-451. https://doi.org/10.1002/jrsm.1353

Taylor, R, Cross-Sudworth, F, Goodwin, L, Kenyon, S & MacArthur, C 2019, 'Midwives’ perspectives of continuity based working in the UK: a cross-sectional survey', Midwifery, vol. 75, pp. 127-137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2019.05.005

Cross-Sudworth, F, Knight, M, Goodwin, L & Kenyon, S 2019, 'Systematic exploration of local reviews of the care of maternal deaths in the UK and Ireland between 2012 and 2014: a case note review study', British Medical Journal Open, vol. 9, no. 6. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029552

Naylor-Smith, J, Taylor, R, Shaw, K, Hewison, A & Kenyon, S 2018, ''I didn't think you were allowed that, they didn't mention that'. A qualitative study exploring women’s perceptions of home birth', BMC pregnancy and childbirth, vol. 18, 105. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-018-1733-1

Taylor, R, Henshall, C, Litchfield, I, Kenyon, S & Greenfield, S 2018, 'Can rapid approaches to qualitative analysis deliver timely, valid findings to clinical leaders? A mixed methods study comparing rapid and thematic analysis', BMJ open, vol. 8, no. 10, e019993. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019993

Comment/debate

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. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.16761

Commissioned report

Kenyon, S 2019, Saving lives, improving mothers’ care - lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland confidential enquiries into maternal deaths and morbidity. National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit: University of Oxford. <https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/mbrrace-uk/reports>

Editorial

Kenyon, S, Skrybant, M & Johnston, T 2019, 'Optimising the management of late term pregnancies', BMJ, vol. 364, l681. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l681

Kenyon, S, Middleton, L, Skrybant, M & Johnston, T 2019, 'When to induce late term pregnancies: 41 weeks looks like the safer option for women and their babies', BMJ, vol. 367, no. l6486. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l6486

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

Midwifery lead for 'MBRRACE-UK'