About the study
The Maternal Health Study is a multi-wave, prospective cohort study investigating the health and well-being of over 1500 first-time mothers and their firstborn children. Women were recruited to the study from six Melbourne metropolitan hospitals between 2003-2005.
In the early years of the study the main focus was on women's health and recovery after childbirth. Women taking part in the study completed questionnaires and telephone interviews in early and late pregnancy, and at three, six, nine, 12 and 18 months postpartum, and when their first child was four years of age. Over 800 women in the study have also been followed up after second and subsequent births.
Data has been collected on common maternal physical and psychological health problems, including incontinence, sexual health problems, depression, anxiety and intimate partner abuse, and on a range of child health and developmental outcomes. We have also collected information regarding the social context of women and children, and changing life circumstances as the children grow up.
In 2013, the team commenced follow-up of mothers and their first-born children, as the children in the study turn ten years old.
The study aims to improve understanding of social and obstetric factors influencing maternal and child health. The information collected is used to inform policy and practice in maternity care, early childhood services and primary health care.