Dr Mairead Black

Dr Mairead Black

Senior Clinical Lecturer

Dr Mairead Black
Dr Mairead Black

Contact Details


Dr Black aims to improve women's experiences and outcomes of birth, ensuring shared decision-making and informed consent in the delivery of safe maternity care. Her role ensures leadership in the advance and delivery of maternity care, pushing high-quality care and support for pregnant women up the research and clinical agenda.

Dr Black's research interests include intrapartum care, shared decision-making and multimorbidity in pregnancy, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on inequalities in pregnant women, and the role of outpatient induction of labour.

Dr Black has experience in primary qualitative research, synthesis of qualitative literature, epidemiological research using multiple linked Scottish datasets, and health services research employing questionnaires. Her high impact papers to date relate to offspring health outcomes following planned caesarean birth and key beliefs which influence women's birth preferences after caesarean section.

Dr Black currently focuses on how to improve women's knowledge and involvement in planning their birth, utilising primary qualitative research, multi-stakeholder consensus-building and engaging with software companies to understand the possibilities through electronic medical record technology.

Dr Black is an honorary consultant obstetrician at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital with leadership roles in labour ward and obstetric risk management. She has been a member of the NICE Antenatal Care guideline committee since 2018 and the RCOG clinical studies group in intrapartum care since 2019.


PhD, Reproductive Biology University of Aberdeen 2016
MSc, Public Health and Health Services Research University of Aberdeen 2013
MRCOG, Obstetrics and Gynaecology Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 2009
MBchB, Medicine and Surgery University of Glasgow 2004

External Memberships and Affiliations

Member of the NICE antenatal care guideline committee (2018-present).

Faculty on the RCOG-affiliated ROBUST course (2016-present).

Member of the RCOG Intrapartum Care Clinical Studies group (2017-present).

Peer reviewer for scientific journals including New England Journal of Medicine, BMJ, PLoS Medicine.



Research Areas

Research Overview

Dr Black is an academic obstetrician at intermediate career stage. Her current and future research focuses on shared decision-making and personalised planning of pregnancy-related care, optimising pregnancy experiences and outcomes for women with multimorbidity and for those undergoing induction of labour. Dr Black strives to improve the safety of labour and birth, and to enhance the pregnancy and birthing experience for women through improved engagement between woman and maternity care professionals. She has a specific interest in how clinicians can support women to make informed choices using evidence-based information. Dr Black has a track-record of obtaining research funding, publishing in high-impact journals and engaging with the public to ensure responsible dissemination of her research findings.


Current Research

Dr Black is currently co-leading a study of the impact of changes in NHS Scotland maternity services on women and staff. Along with Dr Albert Farre at the University of Dundee they are conducting mixed-methods research to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic-related changes in maternity care have affected women using the services and those delivering it, and how these findings can shape future maternity care in Scotland.

Dr Black is also continuing a programme of work to understand how shared decision-making in birth planning can be improved in the UK NHS, with a particular focus on birth mode planning since the 2015 Supreme Court Montgomery ruling. She researches the role of prediction tools and how women would receive their use, and is planning work to support women when planning how to give birth.

Dr Black is working with UK collaborative groups on research on induction of labour and multimorbidity in pregnancy (see collaborations section below).

As part of her interest in understanding and reducing inequalities in health outcomes for pregnant women in the UK, Dr Black is supervising a number of student projects (from PhD to BSc level) which set out to increase knowledge of and improve healthcare and experiences for pregnant women from ethnic minority backgrounds.


MuM-PreDiCT Multimorbid Pregnancy: Determinants, Clusters, Consequences and Trajectories (MuM-PreDiCCT). Seven universities, NHS Trust and Patient/Pulic Partners: University of Birmingham (lead), University of Aberdeen, University of St Andrews, University of Manchester, Keele University, Queen's University Belfast, Swansea University, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust.

Choice Study – Cervical Ripening at Home or In-Hospital – prospective cohort study and process evaluation (CHOICE Study) University of Edinburgh (lead), City University of London, University of Stirling, Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, King's College London, Cardiff University.

Perinatal experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic: a mixed methods study. University of Dundee.


PhD Students

Improving maternity care experiences for pregnant women seeking asylum or with refugee status in Scotland. Heba Farajallah. University of Aberdeen. 2020-2025.

Multimorbidity in Pregnancy: Epidemiology, clustering, pharmacoepidemiology and core outcome set development. Dr Siang Ing Lee University of Birmingham. 2020-2023.

Research Funding and Grants

Public Health Scotland Perinatal experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic: a mixed methods study £62,187 October 2020-March 2021 Commissioned research. Co-chief investigator.

Medical Research Council Multimorbid Pregnancy: Determinants, Clusters, Consequences and Trajectories (MuM-PreDiCCT) (MR/V005243/1) £99,598 June 2020-December 2020

National Institute for Health Research Cervical Ripening at Home or In-Hospital prospective cohort study and process evaluation (CHOICE Study) £782,967 2019-2022 Co-applicant and CHOICE implementation lead

Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund ‘Shared decision-making in planning childbirth – Proposed multi-stakeholder research agenda-setting workshop’ £11,275 2019-2020 Sole applicant.

Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity Research Fund Reproductive outcomes after a fully dilated caesarean section: is there a risk of preterm birth and late miscarriage? £4998 2019-2020 Co-applicant.

NHS Grampian Endowments funding ‘Baby boxes and parental capabilities: developing a measure of social outcomes’ £10,427, 2019-2020. Co-applicant.

Medical Research Scotland Vacation scholarship (main applicant to propose supervision of medical student Miss Catriona Young). £1600, Summer 2019. Primary data analysis of impact of duration of second stage of labour on maternal and offspring outcomes.

MRC Proximity 2 Discovery University of Aberdeen ‘Supporting birth planning through personalised risk predictions’ 2018 £1200 Used to underpin current funding applications.

Medical Research Scotland Vacation scholarship (main applicant to propose supervision of medical student Miss Anna Rose). £1500, Summer 2016. This award funded a medical student to perform a systematic review.

National Institute of Health Research grant ‘Offspring renal calculi following elective caesarean’ £11,595, 2017-2018 This award is funding research costs including data access and statistical support.

Wellcome Trust Research training fellowship (personal award). £225,190, 2013-2016. This award funded 36 months of full-time PhD-focused research.

Wellbeing of Women Research scholarship (co-applicant as supervisor of Dr Andrea Woolner). £19,939, 2015-2018. This award is funding research costs, including data access and statistical support.

Medical Research Scotland Vacation scholarship (supervisor of student Miss Anna Rose). £1500, Summer 2016


Teaching Responsibilities

I lead the MSc-level course in Evidence Based Health which is delivered fully online. This teaches the steps of conducting a systematic review and how to implement evidence-based healthcare in practice. The implementation modules include the process of shared decision-making with individuals through to influencing healthcare policy.

I lead the year 3 teaching on the reproductive system for MBchB students - this is evolving into a blended learning course utilising online lectures, flipped classrooms, online poster boards and quizzes among other delivery formats.



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