Gill Thomson

Dr. Gill Thomson

Reader/Associate Professor in Perinatal Health

School of Community Health and Midwifery

Brook Building, BB243

+44 (0) 1772 89 4578

Subject Areas: Nursing and Midwifery, Psychology

Gill is a Social Scientist, who has a psychology academic background. Her research interests relate to psychosocial influences and implications of perinatal care, with a particular focus on factors that impact upon maternal wellbeing, including peer support models of care.

Full Profile

  • B.Sc. (Hons. 2:1) Applied Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, 1996
  • M.Sc. Psychology of Child Development (Distinction), University of Central Lancashire, 1998
  • Ph.D. Midwifery Studies, University of Central Lancashire, 2007

Gill Thomson is a Reader (Associated Professor) in Perinatal Health, and works in the Maternal and Infant Nutrition and Nurture (MAINN) research unit at the University of Central Lancashire. Gill has a psychology academic background and has worked within the public, private and voluntary sector. Following successful completion of her PhD at the end of 2007 she has been employed by UCLan and has been involved in a number of research/evaluation based projects funded by various Primary Care Trusts, National Institute of Health Research, Department of Health and various charities to explore psychosocial influences and experiences towards maternity services, infant feeding issues and support services. Gill’s research interests relate to psychosocial influences and implications of perinatal care, with a particular focus on factors that impact upon parental mental health and peer support models of care. She is also a steering group member of the SCENE (Separation and Closeness Experiences in the Neonatal Environment) international research network that aims to identify, construct, implement and evaluate best practice in supporting physical and emotional closeness during neonatal care.  Gill has a particular specialism in interpretive phenomenological based research and co-facilitates an annual Hermeneutic Phenomenology Methodology Course & Symposium in collaboration with Professor Susan Crowther at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.


Thomson, G. & Schmied, V. (2017) (eds). Psychosocial Resilience and Risk in the Perinatal Period: Implications and Guidance for Professionals. London:  Routledge.

Flacking, R., Thomson, G. & Axelin, A. (2016). Pathways to closeness – a cross-national qualitative study.  BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 16:170. doi: 10.1186/s12884-016-0955-3.

Thomson, G. & Downe, S.  (2016). Emotions and support needs following a distressing birth: Scoping study with pregnant multigravida women in North West England.  Midwifery, 40, 32–39.

Thomson, G., Morgan, H., Crossland, N., Bauld, L., Dykes, F. & Hoddinott, P. (2014). Unintended consequences of incentive provision for behaviour change and maintenance around childbirth.  PLoS ONE 9(10): e111322.

Thomson, G., Eschbrich-Burton, K. & Flacking, R. (2015). Shame if you do, Shame if you don’t:  Women’s experiences of infant feeding.  Maternal & Child Nutrition, 11, 33-46.

Fenech, G. & Thomson, G. (2014).  ‘Tormented by Ghosts of their Past’:    A meta-synthesis to explore the psychosocial implications of a traumatic birth on maternal wellbeing.  Midwifery, 30,185–193.

Thomson, G., & Dykes, F. & Downe, S. (2011) (eds). Qualitative Research in Midwifery and Childbirth: Phenomenological Approaches.  London: Routledge.

More publications


Thomson, G. (2018). Birth trauma and its impact on the postnatal journey.  Keynote at:  Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood: Bio-Cultural Perspective, Healthy Children’s Faculty, Orlando, Florida (13th January, 2018).

Thomson, G. & Crowther, S.  (2017). Defending the Heideggerian Approach.  Keynote at:  International Philosophy of Nursing Society, University of Worcester. (1st September, 2017)

Thomson G. (2017).  Caring to make a difference with vulnerable women:  the impact of targeted support on birth-related outcomes and experiences.  Keynote at:  Birth Companions’ New Insights Event.  Royal College of Obstetricians, London (6th February, 2017)

Thomson, G. Shame if you do, shame if you don’t:  Women’s experiences of infant feeding.  Keynote at: Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood: Bio-cultural Perspectives, Dalarna University, Sweden (23rd August, 2016)

Thomson, G. (2015).  Using philosophy to illuminate insights and meanings.  Keynote at: Phenomenology and Health Conference, Oxford University. (28th March, 2015)

Download a full list of Gill's conferences.

External Activities

Editorial Boards

  • Editorial member of Maternal & Child Nutrition (IF: 3.51)
  • Editorial member of BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth (IF: 2.18)

Scientific review - Conferences

  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Normal Birth Conference, UCLan
  • Member of Scientific Review/Conference Organisation Team for Nutrition & Nurture Conference, UCLan
  • Member of the Scientific Review Committee for the International Confederation of Midwives Conference

Additional roles

  • HRA/NHS ethics committee member
  • Vice-Chair of the UCLan-wide ethics committee
  • Research Degree Tutor



Sept, 2014 – Nov, 2016 Thomson, G. (PI) & Hall-Moran, V. A realist evaluation
into the implementation and outcomes of Best Beginnings interventions. Funded by DH/Best Beginnings

Jan – November, 2015 Thomson, G. (PI) & Hall-Moran V. (PI). RESPITE Post-
natal study. Funded by Healthy Children’s Centre, USA.

March, 2014 – Sept, 2015 Thomson, G. (PI) & Balaam, M-C. Birth Companions Research Project. Funded by Birth Companions.

March, 2014 – Sept, 2016 Thomson, G. (PI). Evaluation of Breastfeeding Peer Support. Funded by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

May, 2013 – Sept, 2014 Thomson, G. (PI). Development of an Antenatal Breastfeeding Tool. Funded by NHS North Lancashire

May, 2012 – May, 2013 Thomson, G. (PI). & Balaam, M.C. Evaluation of Peer Support Provision in North Lancashire. Funded by NHS North Lancashire

May, 2011 – February, 2012 Thomson, G. (PI), Sutton, C.J., Dykes, F. & Crossland, N. Evaluation of the National Breastfeeding Helpline. Funded by The National Breastfeeding Helpline

July, 2010 – Dec, 2010 Thomson, G. (PI) & Dykes, F. Evaluation of Infant Feeding Information Team. Funded by the Department of Health

Download a full list of Gill's Research Projects

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

Teaching on various MSc Midwifery Modules. Module leader for MW4033: Psycho-social Influences and Impact on Maternal, Child and Family Health