Shawn Walker


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Biographical details

Shawn is currently funded by an NIHR Advanced Fellowship to explore the feasibility of conducting a large, multi-centre trial of vaginal breech births at term, OptiBreech.

Shawn has worked in all midwifery settings -- home, freestanding and alongside midwifery units and obstetric units. Her PhD research arose out of advocacy work with service users, seeking to improve the care pathway for women with breech-presenting babies and working closely with my obstetric, anaesthetic and neonatal colleagues to do this. It focused on the question: How can clinicians learn to safely deliver breech babies in the current maternity care context, given minimal opportunities to attend breech births?

From 2012-2014, Shawn pioneered the clinical role of Breech Specialist Midwife at James Paget University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, a small unit with 2000 births per year in Norfolk. Approximately 1:20 women who used this service transferred in from other hospitals due to unmet demand elsewhere. 

Out of her research, Shawn developed and evaluated a physiological breech birth training programme that is now delivered to over 2000 health care professionals globally each year through a not-for-profit company, of which she is the Director, Breech Birth Network CIC ( In addition to at least twenty NHS Trusts and Ambulance Services who use her evidence-based teaching materials in mandatory training, her publications on PBB methods are referenced as key sources in midwifery breech training programmes in Canada and the Netherlands. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Midwifery, Doctor of Philosophy, Confidence and Expertise in Physiological Breech Birth, City, University of London

Award Date: 18 Feb 2018

External positions

Honorary Consultant Midwife, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

21 Jan 2021 → …

Consultant Breech Specialist Midwife, GSTT Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

1 Apr 20191 May 2020


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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