Susan Bewley

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Susan Bewley
BornJuly 1958
Alma materUniversity of Oxford
TitleProfessor of Obstetrics & Women's Health, King's College London
Parent(s)Thomas Bewley
Beulah Bewley

Susan Jane Bewley (born July 1958) is a British consultant obstetrician, and Emeritus Professor of Obstetric and Women's Health at King's College London.

Born in Ireland and qualified from London, she specialises in complicated births and severe maternal morbidity. Her main research areas have been on severe maternal diseases and violence in pregnancy, with other work in fertility and intrapartum guidance with the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE). In addition, she has been involved with several charities.

Early life and education[edit]

Bewley was born in 1958 in Dublin, Ireland. Her father Thomas, was a psychiatrist. Her mother, Beulah Bewley, daughter of banker John Knox and the affluent heiress Ina Charles, became a dame for her work on women in medicine. Bewley is the eldest and only doctor of five siblings, having three sisters and one brother.[1][2]

As a child, Bewley regularly visited her relatives in then troubled Northern Ireland. Her recollections include a story about how her cousins taught her to sound less English whilst in Ireland.[2]

Bewley earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Oxford in 1979, and qualified as doctor at Middlesex Hospital in 1982.[3] She self financed a masters degree in medical law and ethics, where she also became interested in domestic violence.[4]

Medical career[edit]

Inspired by her parents and the late obstetrician and gynaecologist Professor Geoffrey Chamberlain, Bewley specialises in complicated births and severe maternal morbidity.[4]

Her principal research centres on severe maternal diseases and violence in pregnancy. She was the first woman accomplished in Maternal-Fetal Medicine in the UK and has edited numerous books. She has played a key role in the National Institute of Clinical Excellence Fertility Guideline Development Group and the Intrapartum Guideline Development Group.[5] She has criticized homeopathy and highlighted distortions in previous breast cancer screening leaflets.[4]

In addition, Bewley works for various charities including Healthwatch UK (for treatments that work), Sophia Forum (the UK branch of the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS), and Maternity Action (which works to end inequality and promote the health and wellbeing of pregnant women).[4]

In 2005, Bewley and fertility expert Melanie Davies published "Which Career First? The most secure age for childbearing remains 20-35" in the British Medical Journal. Debating the reasons for having children at an older age, in what way this worsens outcomes and how assisted conception has contributed, it triggered a discussion on childbearing in older women.[5][6][7]

Other activities[edit]

It was at the request of her ill mother, Dame Beulah Bewley, that Bewley helped her complete and edit My Life As A Woman and Doctor, memoirs of Beulah Bewley.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Review of Beulah Bewley and Susan Bewley (Ed.), My life as a woman and doctor, by Laura Kelly, University of Strathclyde". Women's History Association of Ireland. 2016-08-03. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  2. ^ a b "The remarkable story of the Londonderry doctor from a wealthy family who was made a Dame for her pioneering work to save women's lives". Retrieved 10 April 2018 – via
  3. ^ "susan bewley - King's College London -". Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Bewley, S (2014). "Susan Bewley: Still hoping to make a difference". BMJ. 348: g1936. doi:10.1136/bmj.g1936. PMID 24603640.(subscription required)
  5. ^ a b "Professor Susan Bewley – Speakers for Schools". Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  6. ^ Williams, Zoe (1 October 2005). "Interview: Melanie Davies and Susan Bewley, authors of editorial demonising late motherhood". the Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  7. ^ Bewley, Susan; Davies, Melanie; Braude, Peter (2005). "Which career first?". BMJ. 331 (7517): 588–589. doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7517.588. PMC 1215541. PMID 16166111.