Sheena Byrom OBE
OBE, RM, MA, HFRCM, Ed D honoris causa
Freelance Midwifery Consultant
Sheena Byrom is a practising midwife, and worked within the NHS for more than 35 years. Sheena was one of the UK’s first consultant midwives, and as head of midwifery successfully helped to lead the development of three birth centres in East Lancashire. As well as being an international speaker, Sheena provides consultancy services to both NHS Trusts and to organisations globally; helping and supporting them to promote normal, physiological childbirth. Sheena is involved in several charities related to midwifery, and is one of the project leads of the Midwifery Unit Network, which assists and promotes midwifery led units (birth centres) both online, and face-to-face. Sheena is working on a new initiative with Anna Byrom, her midwife daughter, to support midwifery in the UK, and around the world.
Sheena is committed to the humanisation of childbirth, to maximising normal physiological birth processes, and for all women to experience a positive birth. The global onslaught of medical technology as a means to improve safety continues to influence childbearing women’s physiology and autonomy, and her work to reverse the trend is ongoing.
Sheena’s midwifery memoirs, Catching Babies, is a Sunday Times bestseller, and her seminal book, The Roar Behind the Silence: why kindness, compassion and respect matter in maternity care jointly edited with Soo Downe, is being used as a resource to improve maternity care throughout the world. Sheena and Soo are currently editing a second book, ‘Squaring the Circle: researching normal childbirth in a technological world’, which they hope will be published in 2017.
Sheena was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to midwifery, and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Midwives in 2015. In 2016, Sheena received and Honorary Doctorate from Bournemouth University, and in 2017 she was made a Visiting Fellow at the same university. Her personal and midwifery related website is sheenabyrom.com.