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Contact Information


Visit Lucia Rocca-Ihenacho

M104, Myddelton Street Building

Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



A clinical-academic midwife with broad experience of leadership and management of staff and resources, I am passionate about supporting the development of positive team culture and implementation of innovations in practice.

Since 2006 I have secured £1,000,000 in funding for research, staff and service development.

My NHS track record includes contributing to the creation of innovative ways of delivering maternity care with a public health focus such as a case-loading midwifery team for vulnerable women and a freestanding midwifery unit.

I have experience of mentoring midwives in clinical practice in a wide range of settings from home births in London to the mountains of rural Afghanistan.

Optimum Birth is an essential part of providing high quality care. This includes supporting all women to achieve a positive birth experience, including those with conditions which might preclude them from pursuing a normal birth care pathway. I see Optimum Birth as a means to achieve high quality care, which is safe, cost-effective and engenders positive experiences.

I worked until October 2015 as a Consultant Midwife in Public Health at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust and I am now based at City University London where I work as a Lecturer and researcher.

I am a co-founder of the Midwifery Unit Network which is an international community of practice to support the development, implementation and enhancement of midwifery units across Europe.

I am invited internationally as a consultant to support the development of midwifery units and to train the interdisciplinary team. I am an Advisory Forum Member of the Royal College of Midwives.

Being a clinical-academic I focus on research which has a strong impact on services, staff and service users.

Within maternity services my work focuses on midwifery-led care, midwifery units, development of midwifery skills, interdisciplinary training for Optimal Birth and dealing with obstetric emergencies in midwifery-led settings.

I am currently an NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Fellow and my main areas of research expertise are: qualitative research, meta-synthesis, Implementation Science, Participatory Action Research and development of complex interventions.

I particularly enjoy working on change facilitation and an organisational cultural shift towards staff engagement and shared leadership. I also focus on improving the birth environment aiming at enhancing staff and service users’ wellbeing.

I am a panel member for the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH). I am a reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals such as BJOG, International Journal of Childbirth, Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare and Anthropology in Action, Midwifery as well as a reviewer for the International Normal Labour and Birth conference. I am an invited speaker at several international conferences.

My educational focus is on:
• Midwifery skills development
• Philosophy, knowledge and skills for Optimum Birth
• Interdisciplinary learning
• Use of simulation labs for maternity staff training
• Partnership in decision-making in maternity care
• Dealing with obstetric emergencies in midwifery-led settings


  1. PhD, City, University of London, United Kingdom, May 2010 – May 2017
  2. MSc Midwifery, City, University of London, United Kingdom, Sep 2003 – Mar 2006


  1. NIHR Knowledge Mobilisation Fellow, City, University of London, Apr 2016 – present
  2. Consultant Midwife for Public Health, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, Sep 2014 – Sep 2015
  3. NIHR Research Fellow, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, Apr 2010 – Jun 2014
  4. Research Fellow, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, Dec 2006 – Mar 2009


  1. Knowledge Mobilization Fellowship, NIHR, Apr 2016 – Mar 2019

Memberships of committees

  1. Midwifery Advisor, Advisory Panel Royal College of Midwives, Feb 2015 – present


English (can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review), Italian (can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review) and Spanish; Castilian (can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review).


Journal articles (7)

  1. Leon-Larios, F., Nuno-Aguilar, C., Rocca-Ihenacho, L., Castro-Cardona, F. and Escuriet, R. (2019). Challenging the status quo: Women's experiences of opting for a home birth in Andalucia, Spain. Midwifery, 70, pp. 15–21. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2018.12.001.
  2. Coates, R., Rocca-Ihenacho, L., Olander, E., Ayers, S. and Salmon, D. (2019). A postgraduate Optimum Birth module to increase midwives’ readiness to work in midwifery-led settings: A mixed-methods evaluation. Birth, 46(3), pp. 533–539. doi:10.1111/birt.12399.
  3. Walker, S., Batinelli, L., Rocca-Ihenacho, L. and McCourt, C. (2018). ‘Keeping birth normal’: Exploratory evaluation of a training package for midwives in an inner-city, alongside midwifery unit. Midwifery, 60, pp. 1–8. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2018.01.011.
  4. Schroeder, L., Patel, N., Keeler, M., Rocca-Ihenacho, L. and Macfarlane, A.J. (2017). The economic costs of intrapartum care in Tower Hamlets: A comparison between the cost of birth in a freestanding midwifery unit and hospital for women at low risk of obstetric complications. Midwifery, 45, pp. 28–35. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2016.11.006.
  5. Rocca-Ihenacho, L., Byrom, S. and Newburn, M. (2017). The Midwifery Unit Network: creating a community of practice to enhance maternity services. The practising midwife, 20(6), pp. 24–27.
  6. Macfarlane, A.J., Rocca-Ihenacho, L., Turner, L.R. and Roth, C. (2014). Survey of women's experiences of care in a new freestanding midwifery unit in an inner city area of London, England - 1: Methods and women's overall ratings of care. Midwifery, 30(9), pp. 998–1008. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2014.03.013.
  7. Macfarlane, A.J., Rocca-Ihenacho, L. and Turner, L.R. (2014). Survey of women's experiences of care in a new freestanding midwifery unit in an inner city area of London, England: 2. Specific aspects of care. Midwifery, 30(9), pp. 1009–1020. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2014.05.008.

Reports (2)

  1. Rocca-Ihenacho, L. and Newburn, M. (2018). Midwifery Unit Network: the first three years. London: Midwifery Unit Network.
  2. Rocca-Ihenacho, L., Batinelli, L., Thaels, E., Rayment, J. and Newburn, M. (2018). Midwifery Unit Standards. City University of London.