Andrew Symon

+44 (0)1382 388 553
Senior Lecturer


Andrew Symon is a senior lecturer in the Mother and Infant Research Unit at the University of Dundee in Scotland, and is the co-ordinator for the MSc Midwifery / MSc Maternal and Infant Health. He qualified as a midwife in 1986, and has worked in both Scotland and Kenya. A Social Policy and Law degree (1992) from the University of Edinburgh was followed by a return to clinical midwifery, and a PhD (1997), also from the University of Edinburgh. He has published two books based on this research, and edited two more on clinical risk management.

Andrew is a Fellow of the European Academy of Nursing Science, a member of the International Congress of Midwives’ Research Advisory Network, a Visiting Professor at the Federal University of Ceara in Brazil, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology, Sydney. He was invited as a plenary speaker by the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand in April 2009, and was also invited to address the World Congress of Perinatal Medicine in Berlin in October 2009.

Andrew is the SNM academic lead on the NHS Fife Women and Children’s research group. He has a regular medico-legal column in the British Journal of Midwifery, and also sits on the editorial board.

Wider professional activities

  • Adjunct professor, University of Technology, Sydney
  • Visiting professor, Federal University of Ceará, Brazil, 2013 and 2014
  • Fellow, European Academy of Nursing Science
  • Member, International Congress of Midwives' Research Advisory Network
  • External examiner: MSc, King’s College London (2016 - ); MSc Advanced Professional Practice, Queen’s University, Belfast, 2011-2016; MA in Midwifery Practice, Bournemouth University (2006-2010)
  • External examiner, PhD thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, July 2006
  • Member, Midwifery 20:20 Scottish National Steering Group
  • Peer reviewer for Midwifery, Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, Journal of Clinical Nursing, Health and Quality of Life Outcomes
  • Columnist on medico-legal issues, British Journal of Midwifery

Current funding

Alcohol In Pregnancy; validation of a sensitive diary-based questionare (AlcoPreg)
Funded by Scottish Government
From 1 August 2014 to 31 May 2015
Award £80,000

Infant feeding plans from late pregnancy to 16 weeks after delivery: Exploring the demographic, clinical and psychological predictors
From 1st September 2009 to 31st March 2011
Award £171,000

WeighWell: Scoping and feasibility study (MRC)
From 1st December 2008 to 1st December 2009
Award £277000

Follow up review of instances of perinatal mortality in independent midwifery
From 1st August 2008 to 31st March 2009
Award £7258

IMA - ISD study
From 1st July 2007 to 31st March 2008
Award £12,952

NHS Estates
From 1st April 2003 to 31st March 2006
Award £213,000


Research interests include quality of life assessment, models of midwifery care, and nutrition and alcohol issues during and after pregnancy

He currently leads the McTempo research collaboration (Models of Care: the Effects on Maternal and Perinatal outcomes) which is utilising the Quality Maternal and Newborn Care Framework as a lens through which to evaluate care.

This research work originated in an original study comparing outcomes for independent midwives with outcomes in the National Health Service (published in the BMJ in June 2009). The finding of a significantly higher perinatal mortality rate in the IM group led to a follow-up review of instances of perinatal death, and a follow-on study examining preterm birth rates.

He also led a cross-sectional study in 2015 exploring alcohol in pregnancy. This programme is the subject of further grant applications.


Andrew teaches and has responsibility for curriculum development and delivery at postgraduate and undergraduate levels. He is the Postgraduate Lead for the MSc (Midwifery), MSc Maternal and Infant Health, MSc Nursing (Research) and MSc Health Studies (Research).

He supervises at PhD and at Masters dissertation levels.


Symon A, McFadden A, White M, Fraser K, Cummins A (2018) Adapting the Quality Maternal and Newborn Care (QMNC) Framework to evaluate models of antenatal care: A pilot study. PLoS ONE 13(8): e0200640. 10.1371/journal.pone.0200640

Shaker-Berbari L, Ghattas H, Symon AG, Anderson AS. (2018) Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies – Organisational Policies and Activities during the Refugee Crisis in Lebanon. Maternal and Child Nutrition, 14 (3): e12576. doi: 10.1111/mcn.12576

Symon A, Pringle J, Downe S, Hundley V, Lee E, Lynn F, McFadden A, McNeill J, Renfrew MJ, Ross-Davie M, van Teijlingen E, Whitford H, Alderdice F (2017) Antenatal care trial interventions: a systematic scoping review and taxonomy development of care models. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth17:8. DOI: 10.1186/s12884-016-1186-3. (brief version:

Symon A, Rankin J, Sinclair H, Butcher G, Barclay K, Gordon R, MacDonald M, Smith L. (2017) Peri-conceptual and mid-pregnancy drinking: A cross-sectional assessment in two Scottish health board areas using a 7-day Retrospective Diary.  Journal of Advanced Nursing, 73(2): 375-385. doi: 10.1111/jan.13112

Symon A, Rankin J, Sinclair H, Butcher G, Smith L, Cochrane L (2017) Evaluation of a Retrospective Diary for peri-conceptual and mid-pregnancy drinking in Scotland: a cross-sectional study. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 96: 53-60. DOI: 10.1111/aogs.13050

Symon A, Rankin J, Sinclair H, Butcher G, Smith L, Gordon R, Cochrane L. Peri-conceptual and mid-pregnancy alcohol consumption: a comparison between areas of high and low deprivation in Scotland. Birth, 43(4): 320-325. doi  10.1111/birt.12252

Symon A, Pringle J, Cheyne H, Downe S, Hundley V, Lee E, Lynn F, McFadden A, McNeill J, Renfrew MJ, Ross-Davie M, van Teijlingen E, Whitford H, Alderdice F (2016) Midwifery-led antenatal care models: Mapping a systematic review to an evidence-based quality framework to identify key components and characteristics of care. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 16:168 doi: 10.1186/s12884-016-0944-6

Andrews E, Anderson A, Symon A (2015) “I didn’t know why you had to wait” – an evaluation of NHS infant feeding workshops amongst women living in areas of high deprivation. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 28 (6): 558-67. doi:10.1111/jhn.12269

Symon A, Downe S, Finlayson K, Knapp R, Trepel D (2015) The feasibility of using the Mother-Generated Index (MGI) as a Patient Reported Outcome Measure in a randomised controlled trial of maternity care. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 15: 100. doi: 10.1186/s12874-015-0092-0

Symon A, Williams B, Cheyne C, Adelasoye Q (2015) Nocebo and the potential harm of ‘high risk’ labelling: a scoping review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 71 (7): 1518-1529. doi: 10.1111/jan.12637

Gomes SR, Symon A, Lessa PRA, de Oliveira MF, Aquino PdeS, de Almeida PC, Pinheiro AKB. Translation and cultural adaptation of the Mother-Generated Index into Brazilian Portuguese (2015) Midwifery, 31 (7): 735-41. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2015.03.009

Symon A, Winter C, Cochrane L (2015) Exploration of preterm birth rates associated with different models of antenatal midwifery care in Scotland: Unmatched retrospective cohort analysis. Midwifery, 31 (6): 590-596. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2015.02.012

McKenna J, Symon A (2014) Water VBAC: exploring a new frontier for women’s autonomy. Midwifery, 30 (1): e20-e25. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2013.10.004.

Welsh JV, Symon A (2014) Unique and Proforma Birth Plans: A Qualitative Exploration of Midwives' Experiences. Midwifery 30: 885-891. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2014.03.004

Okwako JM, Symon A (2014) Women’s expectations and experiences of childbirth in a Kenyan public hospital. African Journal of Midwifery, 8 (3): 66-73

Symon, A. G., Whitford, H. & Dalzell, J. (2013) Infant feeding in Eastern Scotland: a longitudinal mixed methods evaluation of antenatal intentions and postnatal satisfaction-the feeding your baby study S In: Midwifery. 29, 7, p. e49-e56 8 p.

Lagan B, Whitford H, Symon A, Dalzell J. (2013) “The midwives aren't allowed to tell you": perceived infant feeding policy restrictions in a formula feeding culture - the Feeding Your Baby study. Midwifery 30: e49-e55. doi: 

Khabiri R, Rashidian A, Montazeri A, Symon A, Rahimi Foroushani A, Arab M, Hosein Rashidi B (2013) Validation of the Mother-Generated Index in Iran: A Specific Postnatal Quality of Life Instrument. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 4 (12): 1371-79

Symon, A.,  Nagpal, J., Maniecka-Bryła, I., Nowakowska-Głab, A., Rashidian, A., Khabiri, R., Mendes, I., Pinheiro, A. K., de Oliveira, M. & Wu, L. (2013) Cross-cultural adaptation and translation of a quality of life tool for new mothers: a methodological and experiential account from six countries, Journal of Advanced Nursing. 69, 4, p. 970-980 11 p.

Termination of pregnancy: The 'conscientious objection' clause Symon, A. (2013)  British Journal of Midwifery. 21, 3, p. 221-222 2 p.

Donnan, P. T., Dalzell, J., Symon, A.,  Rauchhaus, P., Monteith-Hodge, E., Kellett, G., Wyatt, J. C. &Whitford, H. M. (2013) Prediction of initiation and cessation of breastfeeding from late pregnancy to 16 weeks: the Feeding Your Baby (FYB) cohort study, BMJ Open. 3, 8, e003274

Shades of grey: The blurred boundaries of normality Symon, A. 6 Sep 2012 In: British Journal of Midwifery. 20, 9, p. 676-677 2 p.

Evaluating the reliability, validity, acceptability, and practicality of SMS text messaging as a tool to collect research data: results from the Feeding Your Baby project Whitford, H. M., Donnan, P. T., Symon, A. G., Kellett, G., Monteith-Hodge, E., Rauchhaus, P. & Wyatt, J. C. 2012 In: Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. 19, 5, p. 744-749 6 p.

Surviving, not thriving: a qualitative study of newly qualified midwives' experience of their transition to practice Fenwick, J., Hammond, A., Raymond, J., Smith, R., Gray, J., Foureur, M., Homer, C. & Symon, A.2012 In: Journal of Clinical Nursing. 21, 13-14, p. 2054-2063 10 p.

Care and environment in midwife-led and obstetric-led units: A comparison of mothers' and birth partners' perceptions Symon, A. G.,Dugard, P., Butchart, M., Carr, V. & Paul, J. Dec 2011 In: Midwifery. 27, 6, p. 880-886 7 p.

Developing the midwife's role in public health. Byrom, S. & Symon, A. G. 1 Jan 2011 In: Practising Midwife. 14, 1, p. 16-17 2 p.

Maternal quality of life assessment: the feasibility of antenatal-postnatal follow-up using the Mother-Generated Index Symon, A. & Dobb, B. 2011 In: Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology. 29, 2, p. 183-194 12 p.

Examining autonomy’s boundaries: a follow-up review of perinatal mortality cases in UK independent midwifery Symon, A.,  Winter, C., Donnan, P. T. & Kirkham, M. Dec 2010 In: BIRTH Issues in Perinatal Care.37, 4, p. 280-287 8 p.

Outcomes for births booked under an independent midwife and births in NHS maternity Units: matched comparison study Symon, A.,  Winter, C., Inkster, M. & Donnan, P. T. 2009 In: BMJ. 338, 9 p.b2060

An exploratory study to assess the acceptability of an antenatal quality-of-life instrument (the Mother-generated Index) Symon, A. G. & Dobb, B. R. 2008 In: Midwifery. 24, 4, p. 442-450 9 p.

Maternity Unit Design: background to multi-site study Symon, A.,  Paul, J., Butchart, M., Carr, V. & Dugard, P. 2008 In: British Journal of Midwifery. 16, 1,p. 29-33 5 p.

Maternity Unit Design part 3: environmental comfort and control Symon, A.,  Paul, J., Butchart, M., Carr, V. & Dugard, P. 2008 In: British Journal of Midwifery. 16, 3,p. 167-171 5 p.

Maternity Unit Design part 4: midwives' perceptions of staff facilities Symon, A.,  Paul, J., Butchart, M., Carr, V. & Dugard, P. 2008 In: British Journal of Midwifery. 16, 4,p. 228-231 4 p.

Maternity Unit Design study part 2: perceptions of space and layout Symon, A.,  Paul, J., Butchart, M., Carr, V. & Dugard, P. 2008 In: British Journal of Midwifery. 16, 2,p. 110-114 5 p.