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Professor Mary Nolan

Professor of Perinatal Education, Allied Health Sciences

Institute of Health & Society

Contact Details


tel: 01905 542094


Before coming to the University, Mary Nolan worked for many years in the voluntary sector, supporting and educating mothers, fathers and families across the transition to parenthood. She is a passionate advocate for the Early Intervention agenda and its focus on the Very Early Years in order to ensure that every baby gets the best possible start in life. She thinks that this is best achieved by supporting those involved in caring for the baby - especially his or her parents – and also health and social care professionals who work with young families. Mary retains a keen interest in the voluntary sector and respects its commitment to ensuring that the voice of people accessing public services is always heard. She enjoys writing and helping others to get their work published. The Journal which she launched in 2013, the International Journal of Birth and Parent Education, aims to help practitioners who have not published before to share their best practice ideas with others. Mary is based in the IHS but also works frequently with the Centre for Early Childhood in the Institute of Education and values this cross-institution collaboration.

Ph.D; M.A.; B.A (Hons.); RGN

Teaching & Research

Teaching & Research

Research interests

Mary has researched women’s and men’s experiences of early labour; availability, quality and content of antenatal education; effectiveness of antenatal education in reducing use of pharmacological pain relief in labour, and women’s experiences of home birth. At the moment, she is exploring sixth formers’ knowledge of brain development in unborn and newborn babies and of gentle parenting. She is also a collaborator on trials outside the University, including the impact of upright position in second stage of labour when women have an epidural in situ; prevention of postpartum haemorrhage; impact of breastfeeding peer support in disadvantaged areas and the use of birth plans in labour.


Mary teaches in both the HIS and the IoE. She runs sessions for student midwives on ‘compassionate care’ and ‘contemporary parent education’ and for staff and students from various disciplines on ‘writing for publication’, ‘study skills’ and ‘interface between the voluntary and public sectors’.

Professional Experience

Professional Experience

Mary is a committee member of the Association for Infant Mental Health, UK.

She sits on the Paternal Perinatal Depression Initiative Consultative Group, chaired by Richard Fletcher of the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.






Nolan M. (2013) Relaxation and Visualisation: promoting an optimal prenatal environment. Interaction, Childbirth and Parenting Educators of Australia Inc. (CAPEA), 31(1):9-11

Nolan M., Oliver F., McIntosh L., Lee J. (2014) Examining compassion through various lenses. The Practising Midwife, 17(8):20-23

Humphries H., Nolan M. (2015) Evaluation of a brief intervention to assist health visitors and community practitioners to engage with fathers as part of the healthy child initiative. Primary Health Care Research and Development. Available at:

Nolan M. (2015) Importance of involving new fathers in the care of their child. Primary Health Care, 25(3):18-23

Nolan M. (2015) Why do women sue? Essentially MIDIRS, 6(2):12-15


External Responsibilities

External Responsibilities

Mary is a founder member of the Family Included Global Alliance (FIGA) which is committed to the global campaign to reduce the death of babies and mothers during and after childbirth by engaging with the whole family.