Coventry midwife wins national award for improving pregnancy care for women with genetic condition

on 18 November 2021 Midwifery RCM Annual Midwifery Awards Research Maternity Services Women Pregnancy

An academic midwife from Coventry University has won a national award for her research around pregnancy in women with a rarely diagnosed genetic condition. Dr Sally Pezaro received the Royal College of Midwives Partnership Working award for her work as part of a team of health professionals developing care and support for pregnant women with Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (HSD).

Dr Pezaro said: "I am honored and humbled to receive this award on behalf of, particularly as the other entries in this category were incredibly strong. I really hope this award gives us further opportunities to highlight the needs of those childbearing with Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (HSD), so that midwives and other perinatal staff may continue to deliver excellence in care every day."

The team undertook a review of the research and evidence on the condition. They discovered that around one in 20 pregnancies are affected by it, significantly more than previously thought. Armed with this, Sally and her colleagues have produced a range of educational material including a ‘Maternity Tool’ for midwives and other health professionals. These have been developed with the input of women with hEDS/HDS so that they focused on what mattered most to them. The resources include a learning module on the RCM’s e-learning platform and have received praise from women and health staff as far afield as Australia.

The RCM’s Chief Executive, Gill Walton, said: “Research is so important because it makes care safer and better. This is a wonderful example of research doing just that and having a direct and positive impact on the care women receive in our maternity services and internationally. Sally’s work epitomises the real-world value of research and her focus on having the input of service users at its centre is commendable. This is a great piece of work that is still developing and will pay more dividends in the future, and for this sally is a very worthy recipient of this award.”

Coventry University Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Health and Life Sciences Lisa Bayliss-Pratt said: “At Coventry University we pride ourselves on our impactful research and Sally continues to make a positive and direct impact on care in the midwifery sector through her research.

"Sally is the Midwifery Champion for Nursing Now Challenge and is leading an exciting new collaborative initiative to enhance perceptions and increase the value placed upon the midwifery profession on a global scale. She is an ambassador for our university, midwives, research, higher education, and the RCM and I am delighted to see that her exceptional research has been recognised.

"I look forward to seeing her contribute to future developments and initiatives in higher education and the midwifery profession on both a national and international scale.”


To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected]

Notes to editor

For more information on the RCM awards and the full list of winners visit RCM Awards 2021.

More information on the project and to download the resources developed by the team visit hEDS Together.

Dr Sally Pezaro also received a RCM Fellowship award last year, see Buckinghamshire midwife awarded national honour (

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website RCM | A professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving the whole midwifery team.