In 2008, the Australian Government undertook a Review of Maternity Services
. The Review was the first step in developing a comprehensive plan for maternity services into the future.
Improving Maternity Services in Australia: the Report of the Maternity Services Review (the Report) recommended that the Australian Government initiate targeted research aimed at improving the quality and safety of maternity services in key priority areas.
In response to the Report, the Australian Government announced the $120.5 million Improving Maternity Services Package in the 2009-2010 Budget, which included a component for targeted research activities.
A Maternity Services Advisory Group was established to provide advice to the Department of Health and Ageing in relation to maternity services reform, including development and refinement of the four research areas for the research grants.
The Maternity Services Research Grants were offered in 2011through the National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grants Funding Scheme, as one, two, or three year grants.
The aim of the Maternity Services Research Grants Project is to improve the quality and safety of maternity services in Australia, through a research program focusing on the practical applications of evidenced-based research.
Applications were sought in the following four research areas:
Area 1. Investigate interventions which are intended to improve maternal and perinatal outcomes including (without limitation):
Area 2. Investigate models of care that can improve maternal and perinatal outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their babies.
- instrumental deliveries; and
- caesarean section rates including:
- identification of barriers to higher rates of vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC);
- identification of options for reducing index pregnancy caesareans; and
- the assessment of mortality and morbidity associated with caesareans for mothers and for babies, including data on neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions following caesarean sections.
Area 3. Investigate the causes of stillbirths in Australia and how these may be addressed.
Area 4.The development of a composite index of need for the provision of maternity services.
Information on successful applications to the National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grants Funding Scheme 2011, including those funded through the Maternity Services Research Grants can be found on the NHMRC Website