Professor of Mother and Infant Health
School of Nursing & Health Sciences
11 Airlie Place,
+(44) 01382 388664
Mary Renfrew is a leading health researcher and midwife. She has conducted research in maternity care and in infant feeding for over 30 years, and her work has informed and helped to shape policy and practice in those fields nationally and internationally. Her work has a core focus on improving health and care for women, babies and families, and reducing the impact of inequalities, and she has a longstanding record in involving women and families in research, development, and improvement.
A graduate of the University of Edinburgh (Social Science and Nursing 1975), Mary did her PhD with the MRC Reproductive Biology Unit in Edinburgh (1982). She has worked in the universities of Oxford, Leeds, and York, and in Alberta, Canada (where she also co-founded and led the Alberta Association of Midwives in the 1980s), and has held NHS roles as a midwife, midwifery sister and senior midwife for practice development. She established and led the national Midwifery Research Initiative at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit in the University of Oxford (1988-1994), was Director of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s Public Health Collaborating Centre for Maternal and Child Nutrition (2004-2008), and founded the multidisciplinary Mother and Infant Research Unit in 1995.
Mary has received funding of over £20 million in research and development grants from agencies including the Medical Research Council, National Institute of Health Research, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, government departments, NHS agencies, and charities. She has around 170 academic journal publications, and has written and edited books for academic, professional and lay audiences. Mary has presented to audiences in more than 20 countries, and has advised government departments and global organisations including the WHO, UNICEF, and ICM. She has been co-editor of the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group, member of commissioning groups for funding agencies including the MRC and NIHR, and Council member of the NMC. She is currently a Board member of UNICEF UK, and a member of the International Council of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action. She is Principal Investigator and Chair of the Executive Group for the groundbreaking global Lancet Series on Midwifery. She was awarded inaugural Senior Investigator status with the UK National Institute for Health Research in 2008, and has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s national academy for science and letters - the only midwife or nurse to be elected to date.
Maternal and infant nutrition
Midwifery organisation of maternity services addressing inequalities in health care in childbirth
An Evaluation of the Scottish Women Held Maternity Record in NHS Scotland
Approaches to evaluating Healthy Start - a scoping review
Assessing the effectiveness of support for breastfeeding mothers: updating the Cochrane review
Breastfeeding promotion for infants in neonatal units: a systematic review and economic analysis
Cost analysis of breastfeeding outcomes in the UK
Emergency caesarean section: the short and long term impact on women
Food-support programmes for low-income and socially disadvantaged childbearing women in developed countries
Healthy Start: understanding the use of vouchers
How can breastfeeding support services best meet the needs of women of Bangladeshi origin in the UK?
Improving care at the primary/secondary interface: a trial of community-based support in early labour. The ELSA trial
Labouring to better effect: studies of services for women in early labour. The OPAL study (OPtions for Assessment in early Labour)
London Breastfeeding Services Mapping Project
Maternal and Child Nutrition Practice Development Coordinating Centre
Maternal and child nutrition programme guidance evidence reviews
NIHR Senior Investigator Award
Promotion of breastfeeding initiation and duration. Evidence into practice briefing
Public Health Research Consortium
The effectiveness of public health interventions to improve the nutrition of pregnant women
Potential economic impacts from improving breastfeeding rates in the UK Pokhrel, S., Quigley, M. A., Fox-Rushby, J., McCormick, F., Williams, A., Trueman, P., Dodds, R. & Renfrew, M. J. Apr 2015 In : Archives of Disease in Childhood. 100, 4, p. 334-340 9 p.
The economic benefits of increasing kangaroo skin-to-skin care and breastfeeding in neonatal units: analysis of a pragmatic intervention in clinical practice Lowson, K., Offer, C., Watson, J., McGuire, B. & Renfrew, M. J. 20 Mar 2015 In : International Breastfeeding Journal. 10, 11
Being baby friendly: evidence-based breastfeeding support Cleminson, J., Oddie, S., Renfrew, M. J. & McGuire, W. 1 Mar 2015 In : Archives of Disease in Childhood. Fetal and Neonatal edition. 100, 2, p. F173-F178 6 p.
Healthy Start vitamins—a missed opportunity: findings of a multimethod study McFadden, A., Green, J. M., McLeish, J., McCormick, F. M., Williams, V. & Renfrew, M. J. 8 Jan 2015 In : BMJ Open. 5, 1, 7 p., e006917
Improving midwifery care worldwide – Authors' reply Renfrew, M. J., Homer, C. S. E., Van Lerberghe, W. & ten Hoope-Bender, P. 3 Jan 2015 In : Lancet. 385, 9962, p. 27 1 p.
Midwifery and quality care: findings from a new evidence-informed framework for maternal and newborn care Renfrew, M. J., McFadden, A., Bastos, M. H., Campbell, J., Channon, A. A., Cheung, N. F., Silva, D. R. A. D., Downe, S., Kennedy, H. P., Malata, A., McCormick, F., Wick, L. & Declercq, E. Jan 2015 In : Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey. 70, 1, p. 15-17 3 p.
Midwifery - a vital path to quality maternal and newborn care: the story of the Lancet Series on Midwifery ten Hoope-Bender, P. & Renfrew, M. J. Nov 2014 In : Midwifery. 30, 11, p. 1105-1106 2 p.
Healthcare providers' views on the acceptability of financial incentives for breastfeeding: a qualitative study Whelan, B., Thomas, K. J., Cleemput, P. V., Whitford, H., Strong, M., Renfrew, M. J., Scott, E. & Relton, C. Oct 2014 In : BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 14, 9 p., 355
Erratum: Midwifery and quality care: Findings from a new evidence-informed framework for maternal and newborn care (Lancet (2014) 384 (1129-45) Renfrew, M. J., McFadden, A. & Bastos, M. H. 20 Sep 2014 In : Lancet. 384, 9948, p. 1098 1 p.
Midwifery and quality care: findings from a new evidence-informed framework for maternal and newborn care Renfrew, M. J., McFadden, A., Bastos, M. H., Campbell, J., Channon, A. A., Cheung, N. F., Delage Silva, D. R. A., Downe, S., Kennedy, H. P., Malata, A., McCormick, F., Wick, L. & Declercq, E. 20 Sep 2014 In : Lancet. 384, 9948, p. 1129-1145 17 p.
The impact of transnational migration on intergenerational transmission of knowledge and practice related to breast feeding McFadden, A., Atkin, K. & Renfrew, M. J. Apr 2014 In : Midwifery. 30, 4, p. 439-446 8 p.
Can food vouchers improve nutrition and reduce health inequalities in low-income mothers and young children: a multi-method evaluation of the experiences of beneficiaries and practitioners of the Healthy Start programme in England McFadden, A., Green, J. M., Williams, V., McLeish, J., McCormick, F., Fox-Rushby, J. & Renfrew, M. J. 11 Feb 2014 In : BMC Public Health. 14, 148
Breastfeeding in England: time trends 2005-2006 to 2012-2013 and inequalities by area profile Oakley, L. L., Kurinczuk, J. J., Renfrew, M. J. & Quigley, M. A. 2014 In : Maternal and Child Nutrition. 12 p.
Improvement of maternal and newborn health through midwifery ten Hoope-Bender, P., de Bernis, L., Campbell, J., Downe, S., Fauveau, V., Fogstad, H., Homer, C. S. E., Kennedy, H. P., Matthews, Z., McFadden, A., Renfrew, M. J. & Van Lerberghe, W. 2014 In : Lancet. 384, 9949, p. 1226-1235 10 p.
Interventions for promoting the initiation of breastfeeding Dyson, L., McCormick, F. M. & Renfrew, M. J. 2014 In : São Paulo Medical Journal. 132, 1, p. 68 1 p.
Mapping breastfeeding services: a method to inform effective implementation and evaluation of evidence-based policy in practice Dyson, L., McCormick, F., Entwistle, F., Duncan, H., Chaplin, S. & Renfrew, M. J. 2014 In : Maternal and Child Nutrition. 10, 2, p. 253-266 14 p.
Factors associated with breastfeeding in England: an analysis by primary care trust Oakley, L. L., Renfrew, M. J., Kurinczuk, J. J. & Quigley, M. A. 11 Jun 2013 In : BMJ Open. 3, 6, 11 p.e002765
Does cultural context make a difference to women's experiences of maternity care?: a qualitative study comparing the perspectives of breast-feeding women of Bangladeshi origin and health practitioners. McFadden, A., Renfrew, M. J. & Atkin, K. 1 Dec 2013 In : Health Expectations. 16, 4, 12 p.
Maternal health post-2015. Campbell, J., de Bernis, L., Downe, S., Fogstad, H., Homer, C., Kennedy, H. P., Matthews, Z., Renfrew, M. J. & ten Hoope-Bender, P. 18 May 2013 In : Lancet. 381, 9879, p. 1717-8 2 p.
Support for healthy breastfeeding mothers with healthy term babies Renfrew, M. J., McCormick, F. M., Wade, A., Quinn, B. & Dowswell, T. 16 May 2012 In: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2012, 5, 206 p.CD001141
Using qualitative research findings to analyse how breastfeeding public health recommendations can be tailored to meet the needs of women of Bangladeshi origin living in England McFadden, A., Renfrew, M. J. & Atkin, K. Mar 2012 In: Journal of Research in Nursing. 17, 2, p. 159-178 20 p.
Breastfeeding is associated with improved child cognitive development: a population-based cohort study Quigley, M. A., Hockley, C., Carson, C., Kelly, Y., Renfrew, M. J. & Sacker, A. Jan 2012 In: Journal of Pediatrics. 160, 1, p. 25-32 8 p.
Best practice into common practice Renfrew, M. 2012 In: Practising Midwife. 15, 8, p. 46 1 p.
Breastfeeding and educational achievement at age 5 Heikkilä, K., Kelly, Y., Renfrew, M. J., Sacker, A. & Quigley, M. A. 2012 In: Maternal and Child Nutrition. p. 1-10 10 p.
Does cultural context make a difference to women's experiences of maternity care?: a qualitative study comparing the perspectives of breast-feeding women of Bangladeshi origin and health practitioners McFadden, A., Renfrew, M. J. & Atkin, K. 2012 In: Health Expectations. n/a, 12 p.n/a
Gaps in the evidence for prevention and treatment of maternal anaemia: a review of systematic reviews Parker, J. A., Barroso, F., Stanworth, S. J., Spiby, H., Hopewell, S., Doree, C. J., Renfrew, M. J. & Allard, S. 2012 In: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 12, p. 56
Mapping breastfeeding services: a method to inform effective implementation and evaluation of evidence-based policy in practice Dyson, L., McCormick, F., Entwistle, F., Duncan, H., Chaplin, S. & Renfrew, M. J. 2012 In: Maternal and Child Nutrition. p. 1-14 14 p.
Men and infant feeding: perceptions of embarrassment, sexuality, and social conduct in white low-income British men Henderson, L., McMillan, B., Green, J. M. & Renfrew, M. J. Mar 2011 In: Birth. 38, 1, p. 61-70 10 p.
Breast feeding and child behaviour in the Millennium Cohort Study Heikkilä, K., Sacker, A., Kelly, Y., Renfrew, M. J. & Quigley, M. A. 2011 In: Archives of Disease in Childhood. 96, 7, p. 635-642 8 p.
Fetal and perinatal consequences of maternal obesity Vasudevan, C., Renfrew, M. & McGuire, W. 2011 In: Archives of Disease in Childhood. Fetal and Neonatal edition. 96, 5, p. F378-82 5 p.
Breastfeeding promotion for infants in neonatal units: a systematic review Renfrew, M. J., Dyson, L., McCormick, F., Misso, K., Stenhouse, E., King, S. E. & Williams, A. F. 2010 In: Child: Care, Health and Development. 36, 2, p. 165-78 14 p.
Economic evaluation of enhanced staff contact for the promotion of breastfeeding for low birth weight infants Rice, S. J. C., Craig, D., McCormick, F., Renfrew, M. J. & Williams, A. F. 2010 In: International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care. 26, 2, p. 133-40 8 p.
Factors influencing the infant feeding decision for socioeconomically deprived pregnant teenagers: the moral dimension Dyson, L., Green, J. M., Renfrew, M. J., McMillan, B. & Woolridge, M. 2010 In: Birth. 37, 2, p. 141-99 p.
Maternal obesity: consequences for children, challenges for clinicians and carers McGuire, W., Dyson, L. & Renfrew, M. 2010 In: Seminars in Fetal & Neonatal Medicine. 15, 2, p. 108-12 5 p.
Policy and public health recommendations to promote the initiation and duration of breast-feeding in developed country settings Dyson, L., Renfrew, M. J., McFadden, A., McCormick, F., Herbert, G. & Thomas, J. 2010 In: Public Health Nutrition. 13, 1, p. 137-144 8 p.
A systematic review of education and evidence-based practice interventions with health professionals and breast feeding counsellors on duration of breast feeding Spiby, H., McCormick, F., Wallace, L., Renfrew, M. J., D'Souza, L. & Dyson, L. 2009 In: Midwifery.25, 1, p. 50-61 12 p.
Breastfeeding promotion for infants in neonatal units: a systematic review and economic analysis Renfrew, M. J., Craig, D., Dyson, L., McCormick, F., Rice, S., King, S. E., Misso, K., Stenhouse, E. & Williams, A. F. 2009 In : Health Technology Assessment. 13, 40, p. 1-146, iii-iv
Studying the infant feeding intentions of pregnant women experiencing material deprivation: methodology of the Looking at Infant Feeding Today (LIFT) study McMillan, B., Green, J. M., Woolridge, M. W., Dyson, L., Renfrew, M. J. & Clarke, G. P. 2009 In: Social Science and Medicine. 68, 5, p. 845-9 5 p.
Using an extended theory of planned behaviour to inform interventions aimed at increasing breastfeeding uptake in primiparas experiencing material deprivation McMillan, B., Conner, M., Green, J., Dyson, L., Renfrew, M. & Woolridge, M. 2009 In: British Journal of Health Psychology. 14, 2, p. 379-403 25 p.
Cleaning and sterilisation of infant feeding equipment: a systematic review Renfrew, M. J., McLoughlin, M. & McFadden, A. Nov 2008 In: Public Health Nutrition. 11, 11, p. 1188-1199 12 p.
Predicting breastfeeding in women living in areas of economic hardship: Explanatory role of the theory of planned behaviour McMillan, B., Conner, M., Woolridge, M., Dyson, L., Green, J., Renfrew, M., Bharj, K. & Clarke, G.Oct 2008 In: Psychology and Health. 23, 7, p. 767-788 22 p.
Developing evidence-based recommendations in public health: Incorporating the views of practitioners, service users and user representatives Renfrew, M. J., Dyson, L., Herbert, G., McFadden, A., McCormick, F., Thomas, J. & Spiby, H. Mar 2008 In: Health Expectations. 11, 1, p. 3-15 13 p.
Achieving the best from care in early labour Spiby, H. & Renfrew, M. J. 2008 In: British Medical Journal. 337, p. a1165
Assessing levels of contaminants in breast milk: methodological issues and a framework for future research Renfrew, M. J., Hay, A. M. W., Shelton, N., Law, G., Wallis, S., Madden, S., Shires, S., Sutcliffe, A. & Woolridge, M. W. 2008 In: Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. 22, 1, p. 72-86 15 p.
Community-based maternity care in 2008 Renfrew, M. J., Gerrard, J. & Baston, H. 2008 In: British Journal of General Practice. 58, 548, p. 149-51 3 p.
Countdown to 2015 for maternal, newborn, and child survival Savage, F., Renfrew, M. J. & Bland, R. M. 2008 In: Lancet. 372, 9636, p. 369
Enabling women to breast feed Renfrew, M. & Hall, D. 2008 In: British Medical Journal. 337, p. a1570
Methods of milk expression for lactating women Becker, G. E., McCormick, F. M. & Renfrew, M. J. 2008 In: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 4, p. CD006170