Editorial and Advisory Boards

The Editorial Board comprises people from a wide range of backgrounds of relevance to the mission and content of the Journal, including birth and parent education, midwifery, public health, early years policy and campaigning and communications.

The Advisory Board includes people who support the Journal’s mission and make themselves available to give advice and guidance to the Editors and Editorial Board as needed.


Jane Svensson - Co-Editor

Jane is Clinical Midwifery Consultant for Health Education and Diversity Health at the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney, Australia, one of Australia's foremost specialist hospitals for women and babies, since its early beginnings as New South Wales’ first 'lying-in' hospital for women in 1820. Jane has designed, facilitated and evaluated a wide range of educational programs and strategies, including pre-puberty, preconception, labour, birth and parenting and other women’s health programs since completing a Master’s in Public Health in 1991.

She has been training antenatal and parenting educators on a consultant basis for 28 years, is co-author of ‘Effective Antenatal Education’, a distance education program that was offered through the University of New England, and principal author of ‘Breastfeeding and You: A Handbook for Antenatal Educators’, an Australian Government Department of Health publication.

Jane is a past president of the National Association of Childbirth Educators, (now Childbirth And Parenting Educators of Australia, CAPEA) and currently the chairperson of the CAPEA Further Education Sub-Committee, a committee that in 2012 published ‘Competency Standards for Childbirth and Parenting Educators’.

In 2005 Jane completed her doctorate entitled 'Antenatal Education: Meeting Consumer Needs - A Study in Health Services Development' and is currently replicating, with slight modification, this research to further determine the outcomes of the current antenatal education programs at RHW, ten years since their inception.

Allie Sewell - Co-Editor

Alexandra is an HCPC registered Practitioner Psychologist with a parallel career in academia. She works as an educational psychologist in private practice and as a lecturer and researcher in Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion at the University of Worcester in the UK. She completed her Doctorate degree in Applied Educational and Child Psychology at the University of Birmingham in 2016.

Alexandra has published two books on inclusive educational practice, with Sage and Routledge respectively, and has a strong portfolio of research publications in international journals.  Alexandra is dedicated to widening inclusion in Higher Education, especially through her own teaching and tutoring of students. In 2020 she won the ‘Outstanding Lecturer’ award at the University of Worcester Student Union Awards. She is also a recipient of the University of Worcester Teaching Award, judged by a panel of senior leaders within the University of Worcester.

Throughout her career, Alexandra has been passionate about working with infants and families to support child development during the critical first 1000 days. She has professional interests in maternal mental health, birth trauma, and special educational needs. In her role as co-editor of the International Journal of Birth and Parent Education, she is keen to widen the representation of diversity within the journal. 

Shona Gore

A Childbirth Educator for thirty years, Shona is passionate about education and support for parents in the transition to parenthood.

Following nursing at Barts and St Thomas’ in London, the births of her children kindled an interest in childbirth education, which she explored by volunteering with and working for NCT (formally the National Childbirth Trust). As a Senior NCT Tutor and New Developments Manager, Shona, in collaboration with colleagues, wrote and implemented many training courses to prepare peer supporters, health professionals and students at diploma and degree level, to work with parents.

The NCT Signature and Essentials courses were devised by her team and quality assurance was part of her role. She has led workshops throughout the UK and in Europe.

Shona was a member of the Expert Reference Group convened by the UK Department of Health (2009) to devise evidence-based, universal parent education programmes to be delivered under the title of ‘Preparation for Birth and Beyond’. Since resigning from NCT in 2016, Shona has focused on devising antenatal courses for Grandparents. She has a daughter, two sons and four grandchildren and lives in London with her husband Julian.

Sally Hogg

Sally Hogg started her career as a Civil Servant working on Children’s Policy in the UK and Australia. She is now Policy Fellow in the Faculty of Education at the University of Oxford, working to advance understanding of the importance of early relationships and to drive change at a local and national level. This includes coordinating the 1001 Days Movement and All-Party Parliamentary Group.

Sally is passionate about the emotional wellbeing of babies and their parents. Over the past 10 years, her roles in this field include Strategic Lead at the Maternal Mental Health Alliance and Development Manager for Children Under One at the NSPCC, where she developed and implemented research-led interventions including Baby Steps (relationship-based perinatal education) and Coping with Crying. During this time, Sally also completed an M.A. looking at the associations between excessive early crying and later outcomes.

In her ‘spare time’, Sally is a governor of a preschool and has also been chair of her local NCT group and a member of her local Maternity Services Liaison Committee and of the RCOG Women’s Voices panel. 

Jonathan Sher

Jonathan is the Senior Fellow at the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (www.qnis.org.uk). He is the Programme Lead for QNIS’ new initiative ‘Healthier Pregnancies, Better Lives’. This is supported by the Cattanach Trust and The National Lottery Community Fund.

Since moving to Scotland in 2005, Jonathan has served as the Director of Research, Policy and Programmes at Children in Scotland and then as the Scotland Director of the WAVE Trust. He was also a Trustee of the Children’s Parliament. Previously, he had academic appointments, including Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the School of Education and Psychology at North Carolina State University. Jonathan was the leader of the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute, as well as coordinating child-focused progressive policy coalitions.

He is the author of numerous published articles, book chapters and reports in the US, Scotland and Australia. He has an established track record on rural community education/development, child and family health/wellbeing, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and, especially in recent years, on preconception health, education and care.

Rebecca Wierenga

Rebecca qualified as a physiotherapist in 1983, and worked both in the UK and Australia. She specialised in women’s health and paediatrics, notably as a Senior Paediatric Community Physio working with children with severe learning difficulties. When she had her own children, Rebecca’s great-aunt, a founder member of The National Childbirth Trust, encouraged Rebecca to attend an NCT antenatal course. Rebecca went on to train and work as an antenatal teacher for the NCT, which she has been doing for 26 years, currently facilitating antenatal groups in Cornwall.

Rebecca’s career with the NCT developed and broadened. She trained as an Assessor and Tutor, gaining a Degree in Adult Education in 2008. Alongside this, she worked as a Birth Doula supporting many new parents through labour and birth. With tutor colleagues, she wrote the NCT’s Birth Doula training modules, validated by the University of Worcester.

Rebecca works full-time as an NCT tutor. She is a Tutor Lead supporting her tutor colleagues and she tutors students who are studying to becoming antenatal facilitators at Level 4 on the Certificate of Higher Education. She is also the Lead Tutor on the NCT Birth Doula Pathway. Rebecca is an NCT antenatal practitioner herself facilitating courses for parents in Falmouth, Cornwall.

Lisa Williams
Lisa Williams is a journalist, podcaster and digital consultant. She is currently commissioning editor on features at the Daily Telegraph, and has a digital consultancy business, UPPERCASE Digital, with clients including The Eve Appeal charity and Laidlaw Education.

Her podcast, The Hotbed, covers sex, relationships and women’s reproductive health, with a strong parenting focus. After starting her career at Newsquest South London, she became a showbiz and lifestyle writer for Press Association. She then become Digital Editor for Conde Nast glossy, Tatler, setting them up on Instagram and creating original video content and quirky online tools.

She edited the Webby-nominated parenting website, TantrumXYZ, for two years, publishing cutting-edge parenting guides, comment and hosting events. She has two children under five.
Phil Jones

I am a father of two young children and a qualified and chartered librarian. My career began with 10 years in public libraries during which time I developed my passion for public service. More recently I have worked in a number of roles in Higher Education including as a liaison librarian, academic liaison manager and head of content and discovery.

Now a licensing manager at Jisc (Joint Information Systems Committee), I negotiate and manage the best possible open access agreements in support of the forthcoming UK Research and Innovation Open Access policy. On behalf of universities and their students, I work collaboratively with institutions and publishers to secure innovative agreements that open up publicly funded research to all.

Mary Nolan - Founding Editor

Mary was a birth and early parenting educator for 35 years, working with parents and educators across the world. She has published more than 60 articles in popular magazines and in professional and academic journals, and has also written, edited or contributed to ten books, including ‘Home Birth: The politics of difficult choices’ and ‘Parent Education for the Critical 1000 Days’. 

In 2007, Mary was appointed the UK’s first Professor of Perinatal Education at the University of Worcester, a position which she held until her retirement in 2022. She was also Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham from 2012 to 2021.

She founded the IJBPE alongside Shona Gore in 2013 with the aim of providing a Journal that would meet the needs specifically of practitioners who are educating and supporting parents across the critical 1000 days. Mary was Editor-in-Chief of the IJBPE until her retirement in 2022.

Advisory Board

Robin Balbernie

Robin was for many years Professional Lead for Child Psychotherapy and Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist in Gloucestershire CAMHS.

His interest in working with adopted children led him to the field of Infant Mental Health and early preventative intervention. Until 2018, he was clinical director of PIP UK, a national charity dedicated to help establish parent-infant projects across the UK.

Chris Cuthbert
Chris has worked as Head of Strategy and Development at the NSPCC, as Director of Development for A Better Start at the Big Lottery Fund and currently, as Head of Research at Lumos.

His interests are in children's wellbeing, public health, social epidemiology, inequalities, mental health and early intervention.
Duncan Fisher
Duncan manages policy and innovation for the Family Initiative. He founded the Fatherhood Institute and Dad.Info, and wrote the book ‘Baby’s Here! Who Does What?’ He was awarded an OBE ‘for services to children’ in 2008.
Matt Forde
Matt has been National Head of Service for the NSPCC in Scotland since 2010. His prior experience spans thirty years, including children’s social work, secure care and residential care.

He has served as Head of Service for Children’s Services in Glasgow and joint Head of Service in a Community Health and Care partnership.
Amy Maclean
Amy Maclean is Senior Project Manager at Birmingham Women’s and Children's NHS Foundation Trust working with other Trusts within the STP to make efficiencies in services across children's services in Birmingham in preparation for the NHS migration to an Integrated Care System (ICS).

In particular, she is focussing on reducing non-emergency paediatric A/E visits through a series of operational and person-centred educational programmes. She is also working on a project team exploring Person-Centred Care and how that becomes business as usual in the NHS.

She has a unique blend of commercial, NHS and education experience: Amy studied in the USA with degrees in Finance and Education. Her early career in Chicago was in change management and training for large systems implementation programmes.

After moving to the UK in 2000, having met a Brummie in Chicago, Amy became an antenatal teacher with NCT. She founded The Good Birth Company in 2003, now the world’s leading provider of birthing pools for consumers and hospitals.

In 2009, she joined the leadership teamof NCT as a National Partnership Manager supporting work in the NHS. Meanwhile, her leadership on both the Maternity Services Liaison Committee and then as a Patient and Carer Governor at Birmingham Women’s Hospital allowed her commercial expertise and woman-centred approach to confidently lead on to working professionally in the NHS in patient and family experience.
Jan Mitcheson
Jan is programme leader for the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing programme for health visiting and school nursing at the University of Suffolk.

She also works as Deputy Director at the relationship charity OnePlusOne, based in London.


Bridget Supple

Bridget is an international speaker and an award-winning antenatal educator, working in the charitable sector with the NCT and The Twins Trust (formerly TAMBA), and within the NHS at one of Britain’s largest maternity units where she has both headed and been part of the Parent Education team for 15 years.

As founder of ‘Your Baby’s Biome’, she shares information and runs workshops for health professionals and parents about how to give babies the best bacterial start.

She also works with the charity Birth Companions, teaching pregnant women in prison. Bridget lives in Shropshire with her husband, four children and a menagerie of pets.

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