Friday, 20 September 2013

SPHPM travel grant report - by Dr Karen Wynter

karenwynter125With the financial assistance of the SPHPM travel grant, I attended the annual conference of the Australian Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ASPOG) in Sydney from 2 to 4 August 2013. The theme was Women Reconnected and Revitalised, and plenary sessions focused on a range of stimulating topics including perinatal mental health, healthy sex and ageing, reproductive health and refugees, and the dangers of obesity.

I presented an oral presentation entitled “Health service use after birth of a first baby: associations with maternal age, mode of conception and private health insurance status”. This paper presented data from the multicentre, prospective Parental Age and the Transition to Parenthood in Australia (PATPA) study. The focus of this paper was the separate and combined effects of maternal age and mode of conception on first-time mothers’ health service use in the first four months postpartum, taking account of socio-demographic factors including private health insurance status.

For most health services, such as GPs, mental health and other allied health services, there was no association between use of the services and maternal age or mode of conception once private health insurance status was controlled for. However, use of some health services (for example, paediatricians) was significantly associated with ART conception, while use of others (such as lactation consultants and early parenting services) was associated with older maternal age. The paper concluded that interactions between socio-demographic factors, mode of conception, maternal age and use of various health services are complex. Health service planning should take account of the specific health service needs of different groups of women who have recently given birth.

It was clear from the reaction of the audience that these findings resonated with their own experiences in practice.

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