Carol worked in the NHS before joining the Research in Childbirth and Health Unit in 2004. With expertise in maternity care research, medical sociology and human reproduction, Carol developed and leads the Maternal and Child Health: Culture and Society module of the MSc in Midwifery. She also supervises PhD projects. Carol’s research programme has two strands – optimal caesarean section use; and stillbirth prevention and optimal bereavement care. Her scholarship has resulted in collaborations with the World Health Organisation, SANDS (the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity), NHS organisations and maternity service users.
Carol has published widely in medical, midwifery, global health and sociology. She is single author of Sociology for Midwives (Quay Books, 2009) and co-author of Social and Cultural Perspectives on Health, Technology and Medicine: Old Concepts, New Problems (Routledge, 2016).
In 2018, Carol contributed to a global series on optimising caesarean section use published in The Lancet and was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. This research also informed the World Health Organisation Guideline WHO recommendations on non-clinical interventions to reduce unnecessary caesarean sections. Carol also led a meta-narrative review on inequalities and stillbirth, funded by SANDS, the Stillbirth and neonatal death charity, and published in the BMJ Open, which has been a catalyst for further research. Carol’s passion for maternity care research underpins her postgraduate teaching and supervision.
Carol is a Medical Sociologist. She worked as an R&D Manager in the NHS before joining the Research in Childbirth and Health Unit (ReaCH), University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in 2004. Carol was awarded an NHS R&D Training Fellowship Award to complete her PhD, which was the first longitudinal study of choice of birth method in the UK. Published in BJOG in 2009, her PhD received international media attention, statements from the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and led to a change in NICE guidance.
Between 2009 and 2015, Carol's research into stillbirth prevention and bereavement care increased. An extract from one of the papers she led the qualitative analysis for was read in the House of Commons, before the Health Minister announced his national ambition to half the UK's stillbirth rate by 2030 (now 2025). From 2015 onwards, Carol has combined stillbirth research with a return to optimal caesarean use research. Both strands of her research are underpinned by the concepts of right care - for women - and her sociological roots. This is most evident in her co-authored book Social and Cultural Perspectives on Health, Technology and Medicine: Old Concepts, New Problems (Routledge, 2016).
Since 2016, Carol has worked with the World Health Organisation on mixed-method and qualitative evidence syntheses to inform the evidence base for optimal caesarean use. In 2018, she contributed to a global Series on optimising caesarean section use published in The Lancet. That research also informed the 2018 World Health Organisation Guideline WHO recommendations on non-clinical interventions to reduce unnecessary caesarean sections. Also in 2018, Carol contributed to a new review of women’s, families and health professionals preferences for caesarean section in China, were her research collaborations continue.
- PhD Sociology, Lancaster University 2007
- MA (Distinction) Sociological Research in Healthcare, Warwick University 1996
- BA (Hons) Sociology, Staffordshire University 1995
- University of Central Lancashire, Faculty of Health and Wellbeing Research Success 2020
- Maternity Care Research, Medical Sociology and Human Reproduction, Caesarean Section, Stillbirth
- British Sociology Association Human Reproduction Study Group
- Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool
- Honorary Senior Research Fellow at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust