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Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist

27 Sussex Place

Regent’s Park



United Kingdom

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Following on from the very successful Women’s Voices Conference in 2016, we are pleased to announce this years conference will be held at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in Regents Park, London.

We received an overwhelming positive response from those who attended last years conference:

“As a newly qualified midwife this conference was the best and most Important days of my training – so emotional and powerful. I know I will be a better midwife because of this day.”

“Women’s voices should be at the centre of maternity care. This conference is such a great step towards that. We need more of this!”

The best conference I have been to because it was centred around women’s experiences – inspiring, moving and empowering.

“All the speakers were fantastic. The courage shown by the women who shared their birth stories was incredible, and their stories were so moving.”

“Absolutely fabulous, we must do it again and again!”

“Amazing day, thank you! Lovely to feel part of such a positive and powerful network of women (and men….)”

The Women’s Voices Conference is a service user driven event, providing a platform for women to share their maternity experiences in a safe environment to an audience of individuals interested in improving women’s maternity services.

This years conference has been inspired by the WhoseShoes workshops that are running across the country, only at this workshop style conference there will be no board game, no scenarios, just real women speaking their truth, real voices, real stories, real life.

Through discussion and interactive workshops we will be exploring why it is so vital that women are in the driving seat of their birth, that they are in control, that they are presentented with information to facilitate truly informed decision making, that their choices are respected. We will be exploring how a womans maternity experience impacts on her identity as a mother, family life and society as a whole.

The themes of the conference will focus on how the human rights framework fits into maternity care. We will be discussing informed consent and informed decision making in the post Montgomery age. The conference will explore how choices are presented to women discussing the idea that ‘safe care is personalised care’ following Better Births.

“I urge you to play your part in creating the maternity services you want for your family and your community. Voice your opinions….. and challenge those providing the services to meet your expectations.” (Julia Cumberlege, Chair of the National Maternity Review Team, Better Births report 2016)

We will be celebrating those who’s practice has been influenced by facilitating truly women centred care and are leading the way by example.

We will hear from those who continually strive to improve women’s maternity experience and reduce unnecessary intervention.

This is the first conference of its kind. Be sure to have your seat researved and your voice heard.

It's really important that all voices are represented on the day, as everyone will have the opputunity to contribute to discussions aimed to improve maternity care for women.

The conference will appeal to midwives, obstetricians, doulas, services users, commissioners and anyone with an interest in maternity services.

A donation from the proceeds of the conference will be made to a nominated charity, organisation or fundraiser set up to support women and their families during pregnancy, birth or the antenatal period. Nominations can be made on the Facebook page or via email here.

Speakers include:

Kate Brintworth

Kate Brintworth, RM, BSc (Hons) MSc is currently Head of Maternity Commissioning in East London and is leading on the delivery of the local STP maternity plan, the East London ‘Better Birth’ pioneer programme and the Local Maternity System. She works closely with the Pan London Maternity Network and has been part of expert reference groups for commissioning and continuity of care, has sat on research steering groups for complex programmes of research and was regional lead for London in the Birthplace in England study. Her previous role was Local Supervising Authority Support Midwife for London, and she has worked in a variety of roles including, caseloading midwife, labour ward co-ordinator, risk manager, and Matron and been involved in many interesting and challenging, management and supervisory investigations. Her special interests are homebirth, organisation of services to support midwives and women, equality in service provision and for staff and caring for women making complex care choices.

Susan Bewley

Susan Bewley is a doctor who worked as an obstetrician for nearly 30 years, and now works in a Sexual Assault Referral Centre. She was the first woman trained in high risk Maternal-Fetal Medicine in the UK and her research has centred on severe maternal morbidity, and domestic violence in pregnancy. Despite her medical training and her own mother nearly dying of haemorrhage in childbirth, Susan opted for an ‘evidence-based’ birth and the privacy of home. Latterly, she chaired the NICE 2014 Intrapartum Care Update and continues to chair a Standing Committee. She was involved both in the WHO global study of the Values and Preferences of Women living with HIV with respect to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Human Rights, and subsequent guideline. She is honorary Professor of Womens Health at Kings College London. Her latest book, the ABC of Domestic and Sexual Violence here, is designed to skill up clinicians to create safe spaces to listen to women’s voices.

Elizabeth Prochaska

Elizabeth is a barrister specialising in public and human rights law with a particular interest and expertise in women’s rights relating to pregnancy and childbirth. She regularly advises women and health professionals in this area and has lectured on childbirth rights around the world, working with lawyers and campaigners to promote women’s dignity and autonomy. She chairs Birthrights, a charity which advises women and health professionals on human rights principles in maternity care.

Professor Cecily Begley

Prof Begley, a registered midwife, mother of three and grand-mother of one, has led many research teams to successful completion. Her main research interests are in promoting normality in childbirth and encouraging women-centred maternity care. She has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers, is Section Editor for the BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth journal, and Visiting Professor at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Prof Begley recently completed an FP7-funded cluster randomised trial on increasing vaginal birth after caesarean section (VBAC) in Europe (OptiBIRTH). At present she co-ordinates (with Mike Clarke and Deirdre Daly) the MAMMI study (Maternal health And Maternal Morbidity in Ireland), a national study of problems faced by 3,000 first-time mothers in pregnancy and up to one year post-natal. She also leads the REDUCE study, a pilot and feasibility trial designed to reduce caesarean section in Ireland.

Sheena Byrom

Sheena 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 develop midwifery-led services. Sheena is involved in several charities related to midwifery, and is one of the project leads of the Midwifery Unit Network, which supports 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’s passion to continue practising centres on promoting normal physiological childbirth, and a positive childbirth experience for all women. 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. Her personal and midwifery related website is sheenabyrom.com.

Milli Hill

Milli is a freelance writer, feminist, former dramatherapist, trainee doula and self-professed birth junkie. She is the founder of the Positive Birth Movement and her book, The Positive Birth Book: A New Approach to Pregnancy, Birth and the Early Weeks, was published in March 2017 by Pinter and Martin and is a bestseller. Milli lives in Somerset.

Catherine Williams

Catherine is an experienced service user representative. She first joined an Maternity Voices Partnership (‘MVP’ – then an ‘MSLC’) as a service user member, with her second baby, in 2004 – working with commissioners, other service users, midwives, and doctors to monitor and improve services. A microbiology graduate, she was a Law Society policy adviser from 2007-2010. She chaired Reading Maternity Voices (MVP) for 3 years until 2015 & remains an active member.

Her work with MSLCs has included initiating and developing community outreach (including using social media) & involving women in service co-design. She has designed/led multidisciplinary training on service user involvement, and about NICE recommendations, in maternity settings. She currently works for a local Healthwatch, the statutory ‘consumer champion’ for health and social care, on patient and public involvement.

Catherine was a Lay Member for NICE CG190 Intrapartum Care – care of healthy women and their babies during childbirth (2014). She has been an LSA auditor & is a RCOG Lay Co-assessor. She serves on a number of maternity working groups including: NHS Berkshire West Maternity Steering Group; NCT Research Advisory Group; and, as Vice Chair, UKmidSS Steering Group (NPEU). She qualified as an NCT Antenatal Practitioner in 2012. Catherine tweets about evidence and maternity matters as @BerksMaternity & blogs at https://birthandbiology.wordpress.com/.

In December 2016 Catherine convened National Maternity Voices, a group of MVP service user chairs and reps within an existing UK forum, and is a founding committee member of the group.

Catherine was appointed to a NICE Fellowship on 1st April 2016 for three years. As a Fellow, she aims to promote wider understanding of the value of NICE process, and the need for lay people and clinicians alike to be involved, whether as committee members or as stakeholders. She also has a strong interest in understanding & supporting evidence informed decision making by service users.

For more speaker information please see here: https://womensvoicesconference.wordpress.com/speakers/

Be sure to book your seat at the conference that everyone is talking about.

Ticket price includes food and berverages throughout the day.

This years conference is supported by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.


For more information about the conference and the #Womensvoices17 campaign see https://womensvoicesconference.wordpress.com


What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event?

You can find all information on travelling to the event here: https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/contact-us/directions/

How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

You can contact the organiser at womensvoices@hotmail.com

What's the refund policy?

Tickets cant be refunded but may be transfered. Please notify the organiser if transfering the ticket.

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Date and Time


Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist

27 Sussex Place

Regent’s Park



United Kingdom

View Map

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