Women and Babies Research, formerly known as Clinical and Population Perinatal Health Research, is part of the Kolling Institute, based at Royal North Shore Hospital. We are a partnership between the University of Sydney and the Northern Sydney Local Health District.

The goal of our research is to ensure all babies have the best chance of a healthy start to life.

Our team comprises over 30 people who are obstetricians, midwives, neonatologists, neonatal intensive care nurses, scientists, epidemiologists, biostatisticians and policy makers.

Our research and activities are funded by competitively awarded grants from the NSW Ministry of Health, NHMRC, National Blood Authority, RANZCOG, Mater Foundation and the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

Director Jonathan Morris AM, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Our Director is Jonathan Morris AM, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, an obstetrician with over 20 years’ experience in the care of high-risk pregnancies. He is the current chair of the Maternal and Perinatal Committee – the peak advisory committee of NSW Health.

We investigate factors associated with pregnancy problems such as premature birth, stillbirth, fetal growth restriction, hypertension and diabetes in pregnancy. We evaluate current clinical interventions and assess models of care in order to determine the most appropriate course of action for those who experience difficulties during pregnancy or during the birthing process. This research is vital to understand how pregnancy complications are best prevented and managed.

Our achievements have included being awarded an Australian Clinical Trial Alliance (ACTA) Clinical Trial of the Year in 2016 for an international study that determined the best timing of birth for women who break their waters early in pregnancy.

Pregnancy and the newborn period are of critical importance for both the mother and her baby. For the mother, pregnancy can provide insights into her future health such as the likelihood of her developing diabetes, hypertension or heart disease. A baby’s short, medium and long term health is also influenced by factors such as mode of birth and gestational age at birth. Furthermore, educational outcomes are generally better for babies born around their due date. The aim of all our work is to ensure optimal health for mothers, babies and their families.

Through the linkage of very large population health records, we are able to identify the importance of the last few weeks of pregnancy and the growth and development that takes place between 34 and 40 weeks of gestation.

These findings have led us to promote evidence based best practice for planned early birth across New South Wales and Australia.