Professor Lucy Smith

Professor of Perinatal Health

School/Department: Population Health Sciences, Department of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 5418



I am a mixed methods perinatal health researcher working within the TIMMS team to improve outcomes for parents babies and families. My work focuses on early stillbirth and combines the strengths of statistical analyses using routine data with qualitative studies of health professionals’ practice and parents’ experiences.

I work closely with bereaved parents and charities to ensure my research impacts on the lives of pregnant women parents and babies. With their help I developed a support resource based on my interviews with bereaved parents.

My quantitative work focuses on producing robust estimates of perinatal mortality across the UK and internationally and understanding variation in practice (see BBC Radio 4’s More or Less). My work has impacted on policy through development of clinical guidance to support healthcare professionals and policy working-groups to improve perinatal care (WHO/Unicef Inter-agency Group for Stillbirth Estimation, British Association of Perinatal Medicine & Department of Health and Social Care). 


My work is currently funded by a 4 year NIHR Advanced Fellowship entitled “Optimising care for women parents and families experiencing mid-trimester baby loss”. This work will create an evidence base around mid-trimester loss gain an in-depth understanding of current policy and practice and parents’ experiences of care and develop recommendations for providing evidence-based best practice I am part of the MBRRACE-UK collaboration funded by HQIP  to provide robust national information to support the delivery of safe equitable high quality patient-centred maternal newborn and infant health services. MBRRACE-UK collaboration have also been funded to develop the Perinatal Mortality Review Tool to support standardised perinatal mortality reviews across NHS maternity and neonatal units in England Scotland and Wales. 


Key publications

Hug L, You D, Blencowe H, Mishra A, Wang Z, Fix MJ, Wakefield J, Moran AC, Gaigbe-Togbe V, Suzuki E, Blau DM, Cousens S, Creanga A, Croft T, Hill K, Joseph KS, Maswime S, McClure EM, Pattinson R, Pedersen J, Smith LK, Zeitlin J, Alkema L; UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation and its Core Stillbirth Estimation Group. Global, regional, and national estimates and trends in stillbirths from 2000 to 2019: a systematic assessment. Lancet. 2021 Aug 28;398(10302):772-785. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)01112-0. PMID: 34454675 

Heazell A, Budd J, Smith LK, Li M, Cronin R, Bradford B, McCowan L, Mitchell EA, Stacey T, Roberts D, Thompson J. Associations between social and behavioural factors and the risk of late stillbirth - findings from the Midland and North of England Stillbirth case-control study. BJOG. 2021 Mar;128(4):704-713. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.16543. Epub 2020 Oct 28. PMID: 32992405 

Evans MJ, Draper ES, Smith LK. Impact of sociodemographic and clinical factors on offer and parental consent to postmortem following stillbirth or neonatal death: a UK population-based cohort study. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2020 Sep;105(5):532-537. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2019-318226. Epub 2020 Jan 22. PMID: 31969458 

Smith LK, Dickens J, Bender Atik R, Bevan C, Fisher J, Hinton L. Parents' experiences of care following the loss of a baby at the margins between miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death: a UK qualitative study. BJOG. 2020 Jun;127(7):868-874. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.16113. Epub 2020 Feb 21. PMID: 31976622 

Mactier H, Bates SE, Johnston T, Lee-Davey C, Marlow N, Mulley K, Smith LK, To M, Wilkinson D; BAPM Working Group. Perinatal management of extreme preterm birth before 27 weeks of gestation: a framework for practice. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2020 May;105(3):232-239. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2019-318402. Epub 2020 Jan 24. PMID: 31980443 

Smith LK, Blondel B, Zeitlin J; Euro-Peristat Scientific Committee. Producing valid statistics when legislation, culture and medical practices differ for births at or before the threshold of survival: report of a European workshop. BJOG. 2020 Feb;127(3):314-318. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.15971. Epub 2019 Nov 6. PMID: 31580509 Free PMC article. 

Best KE, Seaton SE, Draper ES, Field DJ, Kurinczuk JJ, Manktelow BN, Smith LK. Assessing the deprivation gap in stillbirths and neonatal deaths by cause of death: a national population-based study. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2019 Nov;104(6):F624-F630. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2018-316124. Epub 2019 Mar 6. PMID: 30842208 

Smith LK, Hindori-Mohangoo AD, Delnord M, Durox M, Szamotulska K, Macfarlane A, Alexander S, Barros H, Gissler M, Blondel B, Zeitlin J; Euro-Peristat Scientific Committee. Quantifying the burden of stillbirths before 28 weeks of completed gestational age in high-income countries: a population-based study of 19 European countries. Lancet. 2018 Nov 3;392(10158):1639-1646. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31651-9. Epub 2018 Sep 27. PMID: 30269877 

Norris T, Seaton SE, Manktelow BN, Baker PN, Kurinczuk JJ, Field D, Draper ES, Smith LK. Updated birth weight centiles for England and Wales. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2018 Nov;103(6):F577-F582. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2017-313452. Epub 2017 Dec 7. PMID: 29217694 

Smith LK, Morisaki N, Morken NH, Gissler M, Deb-Rinker P, Rouleau J, Hakansson S, Kramer MR, Kramer MS. An International Comparison of Death Classification at 22 to 25 Weeks' Gestational Age. Pediatrics. 2018 Jul;142(1):e20173324. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-3324. Epub 2018 Jun 13. PMID: 29899042 


I currently supervise PhD students and predoctoral fellowship students researching perinatal health to improve outcomes for parents babies and families. I am interested in supervising both research that focuses on the strengths of statistical analyses of perinatal mortality using routine data and qualitative studies of health professionals’ practice and parents’ experiences.

Current students:

Ruth Matthews (PhD) - An epidemiological exploration of monitoring social inequalities in stillbirth rates using national routine data

Megan McGovern (Pre-doctoral Fellowship) - Identifying and applying statistical modelling methods to ascertain populations with high risk of experiencing perinatal death

Completed students

Julia Clark (PhD) - Diagnosing the at risk fetus: an ethnographic study of practice following women reports of altered fetal movement

Ridhi Agarwal (PhD) - Statistical process control to monitor perinatal mortality

Robyn Lotto (PhD) - Decision-making about congenital anomalies - how do women and their partners make the decision to continue or terminate a pregnancy? 


I currently teach on the Measuring and Monitoring Healthcare module that forms part of the postgraduate qualification in Quality and Safety in Healthcare. I also supervise dissertation students on the postgraduate courses in Quality and Safety in Healthcare and Medical Statistics and undergraduate courses in Psychology and Biological Sciences. In addition I am a personal tutor for undergraduate medical students. In addition I provide training for healthcare professionals working in maternity and neonatal care. These include video resources webinars workshops and presentations.

Press and media

Inequalities in stillbirth and neonatal mortality; care provision for second trimester miscarriage; robust measurement of perinatal mortality


I am on the editorial board for the journal "Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology". I'm a member of the British Association of Perinatal Medicine and also a member of the UK Stillbirth Clinical Studies Group. I have led the MBRRACE-UK Signs of Life Guidance Working Group and have been a member of policy working-groups to improve perinatal care including the WHO/Unicef Inter-agency Group for Stillbirth Estimation; British Association of Perinatal Medicine Framework for Practice for births at extremely preterm gestations and the Department of Health and Social Care Pregnancy Loss Review.
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