New fellowship set to co-design resources to improve birth process for families

Redcliffe Hospital Senior Staff Specialist Associate Professor Alka Kothari

Associate Professor Alka Kothari

Redcliffe Hospital Senior Staff Specialist Associate Professor Alka Kothari has always cared about improved health outcomes for mums and bubs – but she cares about partners during pregnancy too, and wants to see more support for them.

Through her research, Assoc Prof Kothari has interviewed many fathers and partners on their experience in the hospital system during pregnancy and birth, and is now looking at how we can offer better supports for partners during what is considered a traumatic birth.

Assoc Prof Kothari’s fellowship project, which is set to commence the next phase in a few weeks, will see birth partners consulted to co-design educational resources for health professionals.

“We are asking partners what they need during the birth process, as we know they want to feel included and they need education and other supports when things don’t go to plan,” Assoc Prof Kothari said.

“We will be recruiting 20 consumers with a mix of heterosexual and same-sex couples as well as those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. By the end of this year, we aim to co-design Best Practice Principles, and by next year, we hope to be able to put some of these suggestions into practice.”

For Assoc Prof Kothari, the process of including partners in the birth journey is a no-brainer, noting well-supported partners can be better supporters.

“There can be a range of reasons for a traumatic birth, which might be a physical or medical issue with the mother or baby, or it might be a psychological issue or even due to social constraints – and everyone’s perception of this will be different,” Assoc Prof Kothari said.

“Birth can be so demanding, but we know that well-informed and well-supported partners are an untapped resource to assist mums and to improving women’s health overall, as well as intergenerational health.

“The next part of the research is exciting, as we are at a stage where we are now looking to recruit fathers and birth partners to help us co-design resources for health professionals and establish what else we can do to support the whole family during the birth process.”

Partners wishing to be involved in the co-design process can put forward an expression of interest.

2024-04-18T09:11:48+10:0018 April 2024|
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