A new University of Queensland study is seeking the input of Australians living in rural and regional areas to discuss the challenges of childbirth.
Shari Bonnette, a PhD student from the School of Social Science, is drawing on her own experiences growing up in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales to pinpoint the problems regional families may face due to their location.
Ms Bonnette said it's not unusual for some families to travel thousands of kilometres to access maternity care during pregnancy.
“The study seeks to explore families' information seeking, decision making, options of maternity care and expectations regarding childbirth – as well as whether their experiences met these expectations,” she said.
Ms Bonnette said it was important to tease out specific issues raised in the 2009 Australian Government Maternity Services Review.
The review revealed maternity care is often not consistent with consumer expectation, and the ability for families to make informed decisions was inadequate.
“We'd like to hear a range of experiences from families – those who access GP care, midwifery care, homebirth or have chosen an unassisted birth,” Ms Bonnette said.
“Partners are also an integral part of the pregnancy and birth experience, so it's really important to hear from not only women, but their partners too.”
The study also seeks to explore maternity care provider perspectives.
“Midwives, GP's, GP obstetricians, obstetricians and doulas are key care providers for families during pregnancy and childbirth,” Ms Bonnette said.
“These care providers may face barriers to living and providing care in rural and regional towns including access to skills, models of care, significant time restrictions for consultations and a shortage of professionals.”
Families in the last trimester of pregnancy and those with recent experiences of childbirth (six weeks post birth) are invited to discuss their experiences in the form of a one-hour, face-to-face interview.
Ms Bonnette is supported by supervisors Associate Professor Alex Broom from the University of Queensland and Professor Caroline Homer from The University of Technology, Sydney.
Interested families can contact Ms Bonnette on 0467 596 597 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Media: Shari Bonnette (0467 596 597, email@example.com) or Kristen Bastian (07 3346 9279, firstname.lastname@example.org)