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portrait of Shawn Walker

Shawn Walker

PhD student, Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research

School of Health Sciences

Contact Information


Visit Shawn Walker

Myddelton Street Building


Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Shawn is a midwife who researches skills to support women whose babies present breech (head-up, bottom-down) in childbirth.

Shawn Walker trained as a midwife in the USA, working mostly in out-of-hospital settings, and the UK. Following qualification in 2010 from University Campus Suffolk, she worked as an independent midwife for four years. She was a part of the steering group which helped open the along-side midwifery-led unit at the James Paget University Hospital, The Dolphin Suite, and developed the Heads Up Clinic pathway for women with breech presenting babies, in which she worked as a Breech Specialist Midwife from May 2012 - January 2014. She worked as a midwifery lecturer at City from June 2014 - March 2015 and is currently working clinically while writing up her PhD research on competency and expertise in upright breech birth. Shawn has provided bespoke training nationally and internationally about skills to support vaginal breech births.


- Dip HE in Midwifery with Advanced Studies, University Campus Suffolk, 2010, followed by Mentorship course in autumn 2012.
- MA, Creative Writing (Poetry), University of East Anglia, 1998
- BA, English Literature (Hons), University of Pennsylvania, 1996

Clinical Activity

Shawn works clinically as a labour ward midwife in an NHS hospital.

Professional Bodies

- Royal College of Midwives


- Iolanthe Midwifery Award (2014)
- Innovation in Nursing and Midwifery Practice Programme (INMPP) research grant (2013)
- Heads Up Clinic, Shortlisted for Royal College of Midwives Excellence in Maternity Care Award, 2013.


Research Overview

Shawn's current research uses qualitative interviews to explore how midwives and doctors learn to facilitate breech births when the woman is in an upright position, and Delphi survey technique to establish a professional consensus on the skills and knowledge (core competencies) required to support this practice. More information is available on her blog:

Shawn also has experience evaluating clinical skills training programmes.

Research Areas

- Breech Presentation
- Skill Development
- Competency and Expertise
- Delphi Technique
- Woman-centred care

Current and Recently Completed Grants / Activities

- Iolanthe Midwifery Trust Awards, PhD Funding, 2014/2015
- Innovation in Nursing and Midwifery Practice Programme, Core Competency for Practitioners of External Cephalic Version: A Delphi Study, 2013/2014

Research Centres

- Centre for Maternal and Child Health Research
- Models of Care Research Group


Journal Articles (13)

  1. Walker, S., Breslin, E., Scamell, M. and Parker, P. (2017). Effectiveness of vaginal breech birth training strategies: An integrative review of the literature. Birth, 44(2), pp. 101–109. doi:10.1111/birt.12280.
  2. Walker, S., Scamell, M. and Parker, P. (2016). Principles of physiological breech birth practice: A Delphi study. MIDWIFERY, 43, pp. 1–6. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2016.09.003.
  3. Walker, S., Scamell, M. and Parker, P. (2016). Standards for maternity care professionals attending planned upright breech births: A Delphi study. Midwifery, 34, pp. 7–14. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2016.01.007.
  4. Walker, S. and Cochrane, V. (2015). Unexpected breech: what can midwives do? The practising midwife, 18(10), pp. 26–29.
  5. Powell, R., Walker, S. and Barrett, A. (2015). Informed consent to breech birth in New Zealand. The New Zealand medical journal, 128(1418), pp. 85–92.
  6. Walker, S., Perilakalathil, P., Moore, J., Gibbs, C.L., Reavell, K. and Crozier, K. (2015). Standards for midwife practitioners of external cephalic version: A Delphi study. MIDWIFERY, 31(5), pp. E79–E86. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2015.01.004.
  7. Walker, S. (2014). To ECV or not to ECV? The current evidence base concerning external cephalic version. The practising midwife, 17(9), pp. 30–33.
  8. Plested, M. and Walker, S. (2014). Building confident ways of working together around higher-risk birth choices. Essentially MIDIRS, 5(9), pp. 13–16.
  9. Walker, S. and Sabrosa, R. (2014). Assessment of fetal presentation: Exploring a woman-centred approach. British Journal of Midwifery, 22(4), pp. 240–244. doi:10.12968/bjom.2014.22.4.240.
  10. Walker, S. and Powell, R.L. (2014). Low overall mortality and morbidity for breech babies in the Netherlands. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 93(12), p. 1329. doi:10.1111/aogs.12497.
  11. Walker, (2013). Undiagnosed Breech: towards a woman-centred approach. British Journal of Midwifery, 21(5), pp. 316–322.
  12. Walker, S. (2012). Breech birth: an unusual normal. The practising midwife, 15(3), pp. 18–21.
  13. Walker, S., Scamell, M. and Parker, P. Deliberate acquisition of competence in physiological breech birth: A grounded theory study. Women and Birth . doi:10.1016/j.wombi.2017.09.008.


  1. Scamell, M. and Walker, S. The discourse of breech as a paradigm shift. Physiological Breech Promoting Normality Conference, 2014.


  1. Walker, S. (2014). Dolichocephaly – understanding ‘breech head’ molding.

Other Activities

Events/Conferences (5)

  1. Human Rights in Maternity Care. Drammen, Norway (2014).
    Description: Presented on the evidence base for supporting women who wish to birth their breech presenting babies vaginally. Including emerging evidence about the clinical value of enabling women to remain in upright, active birthing positions.
  2. Physiological Birth Promoting Normality Conference. St. George's Hospital, London (2014).
    Description: Annual conference organised by midwife Jodette Holly at St. George's, Tooting. Presented some early emerging results of Upright Breech Birth Competence and Expertise study. Storify summary available here:
  3. Breech birth: Sharing what we know and do, and exploring best practice for the future. Oxford (2014).
    Description: This conference, held at Oxford Brookes University and hosted by Senior Midwifery Lecturer Ethel Burns, brought together several key researchers and practitioners with an interest in breech childbirth. A blog summary of the conference, and the one held at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists a few days earlier, can be found here:
  4. Woman-centred care when babies present breech. (2014).
    Description: Normality: Finding Evidence & Changing Practice Conference
  5. Breech Birth: facilitating woman-centred care. (2014).
    Description: Promoting Normal Birth and Hypnobirthing Conference

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City, University of London

Northampton Square

London EC1V 0HB

United Kingdom

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