Women’s health receives funding boost

Breastfeeding during a pandemic

Federal Health Minister, The Honourable Greg Hunt has announced a funding boost for women’s health.

The $2.55 million Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant will go towards a Monash-led project and will enable the expansion of the extensive, internationally renowned work by Professor Helena Teede, Professors Boyle and Skouteris and Dr Cherys Harrison, to improve healthy lifestyle in preconception, pregnancy and postpartum.

The Monash-led public health project will develop and implement risk prediction tools, identifying pregnant women at high risk of adverse lifestyle-related outcomes.

Other aims of the project, include:

  • Implement and scale targeted lifestyle support strategies into healthcare.
  • Undertake health economics analysis and influence guidelines and police to improve lifestyle, health, quality of life and wellbeing of Australian mothers, babies and children.

The MRFF grant enables effective lifestyle programs to be implemented and scaled to support Australian women and their families.

It will enable partnership across women, families, researchers, health professionals, services and government to develop and implement risk prediction tools and integrate cost-effective healthy lifestyle supports into practice and policy, to improve the health of mothers, babies and children.

“This grant highlights the key value of the Medical Research Future Fund, targeting taxpayers’ funds to pragmatic and applied research and translation that directly and tangibly benefits the Australian community, in this case, women in pregnancy and beyond to our next generation,” said Professor Teede.

Healthy lifestyle plays a vital role in preconception, pregnancy and postpartum health.

Adverse lifestyle causes unhealthy weight gain in pregnancy, increasing a mother’s risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm delivery and caesareans, as well as poor health for the next generation.

Supportive lifestyle interventions and behaviour change that extends from before and during pregnancy, to the years after birth, improves health for mothers and babies, and is vitally important.

WHO, UK National Institute for Health Care Excellence, US Institute of Medicine, NHMRC, National Antenatal Guidelines and our Women’s Health Strategy all call for healthy lifestyle support for women to optimise health outcomes.

This grant will support healthy lifestyles for Australian mothers and babies.