Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing Study (MPEWS)

  • Full Project Title:      Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing Study  

    Researchers:   Dr Megan Galbally (Mercy Hospital for Women), Associate Professor Andrew Lewis (Deakin University), Professor Michael Permezel (Mercy Hospital for Women/University of Melbourne), Professor Marinus van IJzendoorn (Leiden University), Dr Richard Saffery (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute), Dr Kai Konig (Mercy Hospital for Women), Dr Andrew Watkins (Mercy Hospital for Women), Dr Martha Lappas (Mercy Hospital for Women/ University of Melbourne), Professor Anne Buist (University of Melbourne), Professor Marie-Paule Austin (UNSW), Dr Trevor Norman (University of Melbourne) , Dr Nicole Brooks (Deakin University), Karyn Hart (Deakin University), Catherine Bailey (Deakin University) and Rebecca Knapp (Deakin University).

    The Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing Study is a pregnancy cohort study which will recruit 300 first time mothers in 2012 and, in the first phase of the study, will follow them until their children are 2 years of age. The study is based at the Mercy Hospital for Women and has been developed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers in mental health, child development, paediatrics and neonatology, genetics, epigenetics and endocrinology. This extensive collaboration entails cross-institutional partnerships with researchers based at Mercy Hospital for Women, the University of Melbourne, Deakin University, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Leiden University in the Netherlands.

    There are many aspects of human reproduction which require further exploration. The manner in which a woman prepares herself for becoming a mother is one of the most crucial and transformative experiences in life. The mother’s health across pregnancy is essential for her baby to have the healthiest possible start to life.

    There are many complex transitions and interactions of both a psychological and biological nature which occur for a pregnant woman. These factors include hormonal changes and changes in the way women think about becoming a mother and how a woman reflects on her own prior experience of being a child. The MPEWS study will examine these changes across pregnancy, childbirth and in the early years. We will examine many of the areas of most concern to new mothers such as breast-feeding, infant and maternal sleeping patterns and how the unique relationship between a mother and her infant develops over pregnancy and into the postpartum period.

    We are also interesting in how mother’s cope with the stress of pregnancy and how this impacts on the mother’s mood. Research has already shown that around 10% of women will develop post-natal depression. One of the key aims of our research is to understand the wide range of factors that may act to protect a mother against anxiety and depression over this sensitive period, giving more women the chance to experience the joys of motherhood.

    MPEWS is very thankful for the financial support offered by beyondblue.                                              

    For further infomation contact: Dr Nicole Brooks 


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