Maternity and Women's Health

Listed below are a selection of research projects currently active within ISLHD.

Obstetrics & Gynaecology

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Hofstee P, Mulholland B, Davis W, Kelly M, Curtis K, Maternal and neonatal outcomes of pregnancies complicated by living during the COVID-19 pandemic in the ISLHD.
Locations: Wollongong Hospital.
External Partners: Center for Health Research Illawarra Shoalhaven Population (CHRISP), University of Wollongong.

This study aims to determine if there is increased risk of aberrant maternal and neonatal health outcomes in pregnancies complicated by living during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic relative to a non-COVID-19 population.


Lyons S, Shand A, Nassar N, Pereira G, Davis W, Application of a stillbirth risk calculator.
Locations: Wollongong Hospital, Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital.
External Partners: Royal Hospital for Women, The University of Sydney, Curtin University.

The project will use retrospective de-identified data from the hospital database (eMaternity) in maternity hospitals in South Eastern Sydney local health district (SESLHD) and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD).  Data will be entered into a stillbirth calculator to determine if the calculator can determine risk of stillbirth. 


McNamara K, Chinoy R, Black K, Seddon S, Reid D, Riordan V, Pregnancy Intention, Contraception and Obstetric Outcomes in Women Who Use Alcohol and Other Drugs in Pregnancy.
Locations: Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.
External Partners: The University of Sydney.

This project has two parts. It will evaluate pregnancy intention, contraception use and obstetric outcomes in women who use alcohol and other drugs. Part 1 is a retrospective analysis of obstetric databases from NSW public maternity units. This analysis investigates the incidence of pregnancy intention, and the association between pregnancy intention and pregnancy, birth and labour outcomes. Part 2 is a prospective survey to examine pregnancy intention using a validated scale, and contraception use, including postpartum contraception.


Passey M, Barnes L, Paul C, Bonevski B, Atkins L, Bailie R, Longman J, Pearce A, Barker D, Milat A, Cashmore A, Scarfe J, Griffith J, MOHMQuit: Midwives and Obstetricians Helping Mothers to Quit a cluster-randomised stepped-wedge trial.
Locations: Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital, Wollongong Hospital.
External Partners: The University of Sydney, The University of Newcastle, Flinders University, University College London UK, NSW Ministry of Health.

Smoking is the most important preventable cause of negative pregnancy outcomes. These outcomes are reduced if pregnant women stop smoking. Unfortunately, delivery of quitting support by health care professionals is currently poor. In this project we will trial an innovative program, MOHMQuit, which uses a whole-of-system approach to improve support provided to pregnant smokers and thus increase quitting among this critical group.


Roscioli T, Davis W, Smoleniec J, Shand A, Hyett J, Berman Y, Wilson M, Warwick L, Dikshit S, PreGen: Filling the Gap - Antenatal Genomics and Newborn Care. The Translational PreGen Consortium.
Locations: Wollongong Hospital.
External Partners: Liverpool Hospital, Royal Hospital for Women, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital, Westmead Hospital, The Canberra Hospital.

The prospective national project (PreGen) assesses utility of prenatal genomic testing to diagnose early and improve neonatal intensive care (NICU) management. It is a significant opportunity to create rapid diagnostic teams, understand better genetic disease in babies and how they relate to ultrasound phenotypes. Health economic benefits of genomic results before transfer of babies to NICU will be assessed. Outcomes are a) development of Australian prenatal rapid genomic testing care standards and national laboratory accreditation b) health economic utility of early genomics c) understanding human malformation biology and d) creating industry/academic partnerships to gain knowledge of childhood diseases, their causes and treatments.

Maternity Services

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Jones A, Haora P, Luland E, Building on Our Strengths (BOOSt): Developing and Evaluating a Birthing on Country Service with integrated Community Hub and Birth Centre.
Locations: Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.
External Partners: Charles Darwin University.

This project aims to implement and evaluate 'Birthing on Country' in an urban (Queensland) and rural (New South Wales) settings. Birthing on Country is a complex intervention combining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and governance, continuity of midwifery carer, access to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander standalone birth centre, clinically and culturally safe care, maternal and infant health (MIH) workforce development, and programs to strengthen family capacity. The project will use Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research methodologies and Participatory Action Research to undertake a mixed methods study. We will investigate the process of establishing the Birthing on Country Service, and carefully monitor outcomes to determine the acceptability, clinical and cultural safety, efficacy, cost and features likely to enable sustainability in each community. We will monitor intended and unintended outcomes with a view to scaling up in the future. We are building on our previous studies, particularly the Indigenous Birthing in an Urban Setting (IBUS) study, which has seen an effective service redesign in an urban setting.

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