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Maternal, Neonatal & Women’s Health Network

 

The Maternal, Neonatal & Women’s Health Network includes the Women and Babies Research team, a collaboration between The University of Sydney, The Kolling Institute and the Northern Sydney Local Health District, based at Royal North Shore Hospital.

 

Our research focuses the cause, prevention and management of pregnancy complications to improve outcomes for pregnant women and their babies. Our research goals are to improve health outcomes and health service provision for women and babies by ensuring:

  • All babies have the best chance of a healthy start to life
  • All women have the safest pregnancy and birth experience
  • Our health services have access to high quality information so that maternity care can be provided to meet the needs of women and their families
  • That women can enjoy good health throughout their lifespan

 

We are a multi-disciplinary team that includes obstetricians, midwives, neonatologists, neonatal intensive care nurses, epidemiologists, biostatisticians, marketeers and social scientists.

We have partnerships with Australian Red Cross, the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance (APBPA), the Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth with the Australian Safer Baby Bundle, NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, NSW Bureau of Health Information, NSW Centre for Big Data Research in Health, NSW Centre for Health Record Linkage, NSW Clinical Excellence Commission, NSW Ministry of Health, Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ), Sydney Health Partners, WA Women and Infants Research Foundation (WIRF) and Women’s Healthcare Australasia.   

Prof Jonathan Morris is the Executive Director of Women and Babies Research, with A/Prof Siranda Torvoldsen, A/Prof Angela Todd and A/Prof Tanya Nippita being on the Executive Team.

 Selected research projects

  • The PPROMT trial, the findings from which were incorporated into intneral guidelines. The PPROMT trial, which compared immediate delivery compared with expectant management after preterm prelabour rupture of membranes close to term was published in the Lancet in 2016, cited 113 times, mention >200,000 times on twitter and won the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance Trial of the Year in 2016. Since then, international guidelines including the RCOG Green Top Guideline 73 (2019) and ACOG Practice Bulletin 217 (2020) have incorporated the evidence obtained from PPROMT to guide best care for pregnant women with preterm prelabour rupture of membranes close to term.
  • 'Every Week Counts', a NSW Health Translational Research Grant Scheme and Medical Research Futures Fund translational project, which highlighted the importance of the final weeks of pregnancy for baby’s development, amidst a growing trend of birth before 39 weeks gestation. This program has been rolled out by hospitals in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, and has been adopted by safer Care Victoria, the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance and the Australian Safer Baby Bundle.

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Front, from left to right: Dr Sean Seeho, A/Prof Angela Todd, Dr Deborah Randall, A/Prof Heather Gidding, Prof Jonathan Morris, Dr Ibinabo Ibiebele

On the stairs from left to right: Ms Kristen Rickard, Ms Rachelle Sau-Harvey, A/Prof Tanya Nippita, Dr Felicity Gallimore, Ms Michelle Moeskops, Ms Shereen Zarganakis, Dr Heather Baldwin, Ms Lyndsey Harvey, Ms Amanda Poomcharoenwattana, A/Prof Siranda Torvoldsen

Neonatology

The RNSH Neonatology Department is actively involved in multiple areas of clinical research both with original research trials and collaborative national trials. The areas of our original research include cardiovascular transitional physiology studies, patent ductus arteriosus studies, kidney development and long term cardiovascular disease, nutrition and developmental follow up studies. 

We are also active participants in NSW neonatal network studies and the Australian and New Zealand Neonatal network (ANZNN) benchmarking and CPI studies.

Key staff members are Prof. Martin Kluckow, Clinical A/Prof. John Sinn and Jennifer Bowen, Dr Eveline Staub and our Research nurse Yan Chen.

Several of our senior nursing staff are involved in successful QI projects and one of these was recently awarded a NSW Health award. The department is active in publishing articles in high impact national and international journals, publishing 10-15 articles per year and several department members are named investigators on NHMRC grants. A recent example of a clinical translational study we were involved in is the Australian Placental Transfusion Study (APTS) which assessed the safety and benefits of deferring umbilical cord clamping at birth till 60 seconds of age in preterm infants. The study has recently changed the national/international approach to cord clamping in premature infants.

 Selected studies

  1. “Using lower segment uterine scar thickness as a tool to assess the likelihood of having successful Vaginal Birth after Caesarean Section and the rates of uterine rupture and scar dehiscence associated with it”, paper sent for review and publication.
  2. Ongoing audit on “Use of methotrexate to manage unruptured ectopic pregnancies over 5 years in HKH-review of outcomes”
  3. Trial on reduction of 3rd and 4th degree tears, which reduced tear rate in the maternity unit at by 20% over 1 year.
  4. COVID in pregnancy-national collaborative trial