4th fact


Of about 32,000 births each year in WA, approximately 2,800 are preterm and this figure is rising.

Improving Pregnancy for Mothers and Babies

The Foundation conducts a wide range of projects aimed at improving the outcomes of pregnancy. It is now understood that the months before birth have a major impact on the future health and well-being of an infant, their childhood and even their health as an adult.

The four-year long Cycle Study has now concluded, and while the incidence of gestational diabetes was not reduced by a regular exercise program, the benefits to a women’s cardiovascular fitness and psychological well-being as a result of this study highlight the importance of regular exercise during pregnancy.

The Fetal Futures Program continues to assess the long term outcomes of children with problems in fetal life requiring medical intervention and a project investigating the use of non-invasive prenatal diagnosis to detect genetic disorders in the fetus, is nearing completion.

The Placental Research Group has continued to investigate the efficacy of certain drugs to stop the progression of infection-related inflammation in the placenta, which could prevent this pathway to premature birth. A combination of Solithromycin and anti-inflammatory drugs has shown to be a promising therapy for the prevention and treatment of infection-driven preterm birth.

The Anaesthesia researchers are investigating better methods of providing pain relief during labour and birth, and a study to assess if Aboriginal Health Workers improve the outcomes for Aboriginal mothers and their babies is due for completion at the end of 2015.

Investment in the early times of life, before birth, offers the greatest promise in improving the health of individuals and the community as a whole and the Foundation’s researchers continue to make this an area of priority.