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Denis Walsh

Associate Professor in Midwifery,



Denis was born and brought up in Queensland, Australia but trained as a midwife in Leicester, UK and has worked in a variety of midwifery environments over the past 25 years. His PhD was on the Birth Centre model and is now Associate Professor in Midwifery at The University of Nottingham. He lectures on evidence and skills for normal birth internationally and is widely published on midwifery issues and normal birth. He authored the best seller - 'Evidence & Skills for Normal Labour and Birth'

  • Consultancy: Runs Two and One Day Courses internationally on Evidence for Normal Labour and Birth

Expertise Summary

Denis has expertise in qualitative research methodologies, particularly ethnography, action research, case study methodology, grounded theory, phenomenology, meta-synthesis, appraisal of qualitative research and critical research methods e.g. feminist research. His philosophy of research interests are critical realism and constructionism/interpretivism. He also has an interest in the evidence paradigm and the epistemological questions it raises.

In the context of childbirth, his research interests are in normal birth, midwifery-led models, place of birth, labour rhythms and waterbirth.

Teaching Summary

Normal Birth Module in BSc/Masters in Midwifery Dissertation Module in MSc Midwifery Mixed Methods Research Module Qualitative research methods Critical realism as a theoretical… read more

Research Summary

PhD student topics:

  • waterbirth
  • varying normal birth rates
  • ethnographies of birth centres
  • midwifery approach to slow labour
  • what is a good midwife
  • phenomenological study of women's experience of maternity care in Zambia
  • Women's expectations/experiences of postnatal care
  • Courage in midwifery

Recent Publications

  • Post Graduate Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer
  • Normal Birth Module in BSc/Masters in Midwifery
  • Dissertation Module in MSc Midwifery
  • Mixed Methods Research Module
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Critical realism as a theoretical perspective
  • Evidence for midwifery practice

Past Research

  • Systematic review of qualitative research and its interface with the evidence paradigm
  • Meta synthesis of midwifery led care
  • Access and effectiveness of marginalised women experience of antenatal care
  • Ethnography of a free standing birth centre
  • Evaluation of midwifery caseload practice
  • Why women stop breastfeeding
  • Midwives views on early labour assessment

Future Research

  • How women choose their place of birth
  • labour rhythms and labour dystocia
  • 2016. Walsh, D (2016) Midwives, gender equality and feminism. , 19(3):24-26 The Practising Midwife. 19(3), 24-26
  • 2015. Why midwives should be feminists. MIDIRS Midwifery Digest. 25, 2
  • 2015. Women's perceptions of perineal repair as an aspect of normal childbirth. British Journal of Midwifery. 23(8), 553-559
  • SPIBY, H, WALSH, D, GREEN, J, CROMPTON, A and BUGG, G, 2014. . "Midwives' beliefs and concerns about telephone conversations with women in early labour." Midwifery. 30(corrected proof),
  • KARAÇAM, Z, WALSH, D and BUGG, G, 2014. Evolving understanding and treatment of labour dystocia European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. 182, 123-27
  • 2014. Are we diagnosing labour too early? International Journal of Childbirth. 4(1), 2-3
  • HODNETT, E.D., DOWNE, S. and WALSH, D., 2012. Alternative versus conventional institutional settings for birth Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2012(8), CD000012
  • WALSH, D. and DEVANE, D., 2012. A metasynthesis of midwife-led care Qualitative Health Research. 22(7), 897-910
  • WALSH, D, 2012. Compassionate Midwifery International Journal of Childbirth. 2(4), 210-212
  • WALSH D, 2011. A review of evidence around postnatal care and breastfeeding. Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine. 21(12), 346-350
  • WALSH D, GUTTERIDGE K, 2011. Using the birth environment to increase women’s potential in labour Midirs. 21(2), 143-147
  • WALSH, D, 2011. Evidence and Skills for Normal Labour & Birth: A Guide for Midwives 2nd Edition. Routledge.
  • WALSH, D, 2011. Enhancing Expertise and Skills through Education. In: Essential Midwifery Practice: leadership. Expertise and collaborative working. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • WALSH, D, 2011. Nesting and Matrescence. In: Theory for Midwifery Practice. 2nd Edition. Palgrave McMillan.
  • WALSH D & DOWNE S, ed., 2010. Essential Skills for Intrapartum Care Wiley Blackwell. (In Press.)
  • WALSH D, 2010. Care in the First Stage of Labour. In: C HENDERSON & S MACDONALD, ed., Mayes Midwifery Elsevier Science.
  • WALSH, D, 2010. Reflections on running an Evidence Course. In: Evidence Based Midwifery: Applications in Context Wiley-Blackwell.
  • WALSH D, 2009. Small Really is Beautiful’ – Tales from a Free-Standing Birth Centre in England. In: R DAVIS-FLOYD, L BARCLAY, BA DAVIS, J TRITTEN, ed., Birth Models that Work University of California Press..
  • WALSH D, 2009. A Male Midwife’s Perspective. In: R MANDER, ed., Becoming a Midwife Routledge.
  • WALSH D, 2009. Temporality in a Birth Centre. In: MCCOURT C, ed., Childbirth, Midwifery and Concepts of Time Berghahn Books.
  • WALSH D, 2009. Pain and epidural use in normal childbirth Evidence Based Midwifery. 7(3), 89-93
  • WALSH D & BYROM S, ed., 2009. Birth Stories for the Soul: Tales from Women, families and childbirth professionals Quay Books.
  • WALSH, D., 2009. Childbirth embodiment: problematic aspects of current understandings Sociology of Health and Illness. 32(3), 486-501
  • DOWNE, S., FINLAYSON, K., WALSH, D. and LAVENDER, T., 2009. 'Weighing up and balancing out’: a metasynthesis of barriers to antenatal care for marginalised women in high-income countries BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 116(4), 518–529
  • WALSH D, 2007. Improving Maternity Service. Small is Beautiful: Lessons for Maternity Services from a Birth Centre Radcliffe.
  • WALSH D, 2007. Evidence-Based Care for Normal Labour & Birth: A Guide for Midwives Routledge.
  • WALSH D, 2007. A birth centre’s encounters with discourses of childbirth: how resistance led to innovation Sociology of Health and Illness. 29(2), 216-232
  • WALSH, 2006. Subverting assembly-line birth: Childbirth in a free-standing birth centre Social Science & Medicine. 62(6), 1330-1340
  • WALSH D & DOWNE S, 2006. Catching the wind: appraising the quality of qualitative research Midwifery. 22(2), 108-119
  • HODNETT E, DOWNE S, EDWARDS N, WALSH D, 2005. Home-like versus conventional institutional settings for birth The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
  • WALSH D & DOWNE S, 2005. Meta-synthesis method for qualitative research: a literature review Journal of Advanced Nursing. 50(2), 204-211
  • WALSH D & DOWNE S, 2004. Outcomes of Free-Standing, Midwifery-Led Birth Centres: A Structured Review of the Evidence Birth. 31(3), 222-229

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