Kenneth Finlayson

Research Associate

School of Community Health and Midwifery

Brook Building, BB224

+44 (0) 1772 89 3824

Subject Areas: Midwifery

Having previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry, Kenny spent a number of years studying alternative systems of medicine before entering academic research in 2005. He is interested in the relational aspects of maternity care and the adoption of a salutogenic approach to health care. Kenny holds a particular interest in the use of complementary and alternative medicine in maternity care and the application of qualitative research methods in this context.

Full Profile

Kenny completed a degree in Biochemistry (University of Dundee) in 1986 and spent a number of years in the sales and marketing division of a major pharmaceutical company before returning to full-time education in 2002. He studied Homeopathic Medicine here at UCLan and, after graduation, joined the Department of Midwifery Studies in 2005. He works closely with Professor Soo Downe as a research associate and has been actively engaged in a range of commissioned projects and funded studies including an NIHR funded, randomized controlled trial looking at the use of a self-hypnosis intervention for labour pain (The SHIP Trial). Methodologically, Kenny is interested in qualitative research and in the representation of the public & patient voice in policy initiatives and clinical guidelines. Since 2014 he has been working with the World Health Organization in the development of an approach (qualitative meta-synthesis) to incorporate the findings from qualitative studies into global maternity care guidelines.


  • BSc (Hons) Homeopathic Medicine, University of Central Lancashire, 2005.
  • BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, University of Dundee, 1986.

Kenny has written an article for The Conversation about the rise in hypnobirthing entitled ‘Hypnobirthing: scant evidence self-hypnosis reduces pain during childbirth’.


Downe S, Finlayson K, Tunçalp Ö, Gülmezoglu AM. Provision and uptake of routine antenatal services: a qualitative evidence synthesis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2019, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD012392. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012392.pub2.

Finlayson K, Downe S, Vogel JP, Oladapo OT (2019) What matters to women and healthcare providers in relation to interventions for the prevention of postpartum haemorrhage: A qualitative systematic review. PLoS ONE 14(5): e0215919.

Downe S, Finlayson KW, Lawrie TA. et al. Qualitative Evidence Synthesis (QES) for Guidelines: Paper 1 – Using qualitative evidence synthesis to inform guideline scope and develop qualitative findings statements. Health Res Policy Sys 17, 76 (2019) doi:10.1186/s12961-019-0467-5…

 Finlayson K, Downe S (2013) Why Do Women Not Use Antenatal Services in Low- and Middle-Income Countries? A Meta-Synthesis of Qualitative Studies. PLoS Med 10(1): e1001373.…

More publications

External Roles

Review panel member for the Normal Birth Conference series (2012 –present)

Member of WHO Technical Working Group on Reproductive Health (2014 – present)

Member of Early Career Researcher Forum Steering Group (2016 – present)

Teaching Activities

Kenny teaches ‘complementary & alternative medicine in maternity care’ on the undergraduate midwifery course and ‘qualitative systematic reviews’ on a variety of post-graduate courses. He also supervises Masters students in the Faculty of Health & Wellbeing 


Finlayson K, Downe S. The Use of Self-hypnosis Training Programmes for Pain Relief during Labour: A Journey Through the Evidence. Invited presentation at The Royal Society of Medicine, Wimpole Street, London. 11th March 2019.

Finlayson K, Downe S, Tuncalp O. The use of qualitative research to inform the WHO Guidelines on Antenatal Care for a Positive Pregnancy Experience. Concurrent presentation at the 31st International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Congress. Toronto, Canada 22nd-26th June 2017.

Finlayson K, Downe S, Carr H, Hinder S. Unexpected Consequences: Women’s experiences of an antenatal, self-hypnosis training programme to help with anxiety and pain during labour. Concurrent presentation at the 30th International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) Congress, Prague, Czech Republic 1st -5th June 2014.

Finlayson K & Downe S. Findings from the SHIP Trial – an exploration of feasibility issues. Main presentation at the Normal Birth Forum at The Royal Society of Medicine, London, UK. 3rd June 2013

Finlayson K & Downe S. Why women in developing countries don’t access antenatal care: a meta-synthesis of qualitative studies. Concurrent presentation at the International Forum of Health Promotion Research, Trondheim, Norway. 6-9th August 2012.



SANDS (Stillbirth And Neonatal Death Charity) 2017-18: A meta-narrative review exploring inequalities and stillbirth.
Role – Co-Researcher.
Funding Source –SANDS: £23,436

WHO Maternity Care Guidelines – 2014 - current: Qualitative systematic reviews exploring the expectations and experiences of women and healthcare providers in core components of maternity care (Antenatal, intra-partum and post-partum phases).
Role – Member of Technical Working Group
Funding Source – Commissioned work by the World Health Organization

Labour Interventions and Normal Birth: 2013-14. A UK based national survey looking at how ‘normal birth’ is defined and recorded in a representative sample of UK NHS trusts.
Role – Lead Investigator.
Funding Source - The Royal College of Midwives (RCM): £24,000

The SHIP Trial (Self-hypnosis for Intra-partum Pain): 2009-13. A multi-centre RCT exploring the use of an antenatal self-hypnosis training intervention to help women with pain relief during labour.
Role – Trial Co-ordinator
Funding Source – National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) RfPB Grant: £334,770. 

Access to Antenatal Care for Vulnerable Women in the North West of England: 2009-10. A qualitative evaluation of antenatal services utilizing interviews and focus groups with specialist midwives and key informants from recognized vulnerable groups
Role – Research Assistant
Funding Source - NHS North West: £15,679

The East Lancashire Childbirth Choices Project:  Choice, Safety and Collaboration within the Maternity Services. 2008-09. The development of a training package to enhance collaboration between health professionals within a maternity context 
Role – Research Assistant
Funding Source - NHS North West: £41,222

Marginalized Women and Access to Antenatal Care: 2007-08. A systematic review of the literature using quantitative and qualitative approaches (2007-2008)
Role – Research Assistant
Funding Source – The Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH): £46,280

Parent and Nurse Perceptions of Family-Centred Care (FCC) in Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the North West: 2005-07. A mixed methods study utilizing surveys and interviews with neonatal nurses and the parents of premature babies
Role – Research Assistant
Funding Source - The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan): £21,140