Organisation: Telethon Kids Institute

Project:  Improving the health and wellbeing of pregnant women and new mothers during COVID-19

Location: Perth, WA

Requested Amount: $19,910 from a total project cost of $60,680.

This grant will be used to fund casual research assistant hours, interviews, co-design workshops and production costs.

Overview: This project aims to support the rapid translation of research collected during the COVID-19 pandemic to deliver evidence-based information and resources for pregnant women and their families.


Who is the organisation and what is their mission?

Telethon Kids Institute (TKI) brings together community, researchers, practitioners, policy makers and funders to improve the lives of children and families through research excellence and impact. Through its work, TKI seeks to ensure that knowledge is applied to make a difference.


What is the project that the 100 Women grant will support?

TKI has been collecting data from pregnant women and their families regarding their mental wellbeing, financial strain and social distancing practices since the height of COVID-19, and in the months that followed. The project will translate this research into tangible resources for pregnant women and new mothers, as well as health practitioners. It will address the following issues faced by pregnant women and new mothers in the context of a pandemic or crisis situation:

  • Health information and service needs of the women and where to seek information;
  • Emotional wellbeing needs of the women and where to seek support; and
  • Availability and access to telehealth options.

The project is based in Perth but is anticipated to have national reach.


Who is the project for? Who else will benefit?

This project aims to benefit pregnant women and new mothers and their families across Australia, providing them with tangible informative resources.  The resources are expected to benefit hospital staff and general practitioners involved in the care of these women, by providing insights into the women’s service needs.


Why is the project needed?

The perinatal period can be a time of increased vulnerability for women and their families, and this vulnerability may be significantly heightened during a pandemic. Perinatal mental health can have flow on impacts on a child’s health and wellbeing outcomes.

A mother’s reliance on medical care can bring challenges, even more so when external factors require a sudden change in the delivery of antenatal care from in-person to telehealth.

It is important that pregnant women are well supported during pandemics and other disasters, given the potential these events have to negatively impact women’s wellbeing, family functioning, pregnancy, and birth outcomes, as well as the health of their baby.

Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are currently no published informative resources addressing the impact of COVID-19 and related healthcare and lifestyle changes on perinatal mental health.  Access to a published resource could help address concerns of expectant and new mothers, reducing their stress and promoting wellbeing.


Why is the solution the best answer to the identified need or opportunity?

TKI’s preliminary data indicates that pregnant women and new mothers require additional support during a pandemic or emergency.  This project draws on existing research and data from pregnant women, new mothers and families collected throughout the COVID-19 period, as part of the ORIGINS Project.  This project will review the available resources to identify gaps at the information, service, and policy levels for responding to women’s needs.

The project will utilise a co-design model to develop resources focussed on addressing women’s concerns and current information gaps on perinatal health. Co-design processes are an effective way of ensuring that the resources are appropriate, engaging, and meaningful for the target beneficiary group. It can also encourage buy-in from the outset and empower participants by supporting them to have a voice in the process.


What impact is planned to occur as a result of the project?

The translation from research to tangible outcomes is intended to lead to the creation of information resources and enhanced clinical services for pregnant women or new mothers across Australia. It is anticipated that the resources will provide real-time comprehensive data and information in the context of a pandemic and associated restrictions. It is expected that these resources will also empower women to make informed decisions about their health and seek appropriate wellbeing support, leading to better outcomes for themselves, their babies and their extended families, particularly in a crisis.


Are there any notable partners or collaborators?

This project will be nested within the ORIGINS Project – a 10-year partnership project between Telethon Kids Institute and Joondalup Health Campus. All women participating in the ORIGINS Project deliver their babies at the Joondalup Health Campus. Additional pandemic related questions asked of participants since April 2020 forms the basis of the data collection for this work.



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