Pregnancy and maternal health
Emerging fields of
research focus on pregnancy as a crucial time in determining of the
future health and wellbeing of the child, and at the Telethon
Institute we are looking at multiple factors during pregnancy that
can influence the way in which the unborn child is programmed for
future life outside the womb.
One of the areas that we are focused on is examining the effect of pregnancy and maternal health on mental health outcomes, particularly maternal lifestyle factors such as stress, hypertension, substance use, nutrition and obstetric risk.
- Video: Dr Monique Robinson talks about how mental health in children starts in pregnancy
- Audio: Hear from our pregnancy experts at a recent Healthy Pregnancy Public Seminar
Our researchers comprise some of the world's leading experts on the impact of stress during pregnancy. Experiencing stress during pregnancy is common and can pose a threat to the developing child's later mental health and susceptibility to chronic and infectious disease.
Stress is difficult to define and impossible to avoid; however it is highly amenable to intervention and can successfully be managed and reduced.
Our current research looks not only at the effects of stress
during pregnancy on the unborn child but also ways in which stress
can be managed on a population-level which is particularly
important for the modern pregnancy which takes place in an
increasingly fast-paced and demanding environment for many women
and their families.
We hope that this research can inform women to help make decisions about their pregnancy that may later lead to more positive physical and mental health outcomes for their children.
Our research into Fetal Achohol Spectrum Disorders
(FASD) investigates how alcohol can alter the normal development of
the fetus (unborn baby).
The possible effects of fetal alcohol exposure include brain damage, birth defects, poor growth before and after birth, low IQ or learning difficulties, delayed development, social and behavioural problems and problems with hearing, speech and vision.
Professor Stephen Zubrick, Head, Population Sciences
Professor Carol Bower, Senior Principal Research Fellow
Professor Fiona Stanley, Senior Principal Invesigator
Clinical A/Professor Helen Leonard, Senior Principal Invesigator
Associate Professor Andrew Whitehouse, Head, Developmental Disorders Research Group
Dr Wendy Oddy, Head, Nutrition Research Group
Dr Monique Robinson, Australian Rotary Health Colin Dodds Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr Jianghong Li, Senior Research Fellow
Dr Adeleh Shirangi, Post Doctoral Research Fellow