HDR Scholarship - Pregnancies affected by GDM: Fathers’ experiences and role in supporting sustained behaviour changes for the whole family in the perinatal period

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Pregnancies affected by GDM: Fathers’ experiences and role in supporting sustained behaviour changes for the whole family in the perinatal period'.

Project Supervisor


Melbourne Burwood Campus

Research topic

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) affects 1 in 7 pregnancies worldwide, and is associated with increased adverse outcomes among women, including long-term risk of depression and type 2 diabetes. There is also some evidence of an increased risk of subsequent type 2 diabetes among partners of women diagnosed with GSD during pregnancy, although causal pathways are unclear. Thus, although GDM is diagnosed in pregnant women, it has implications for fathers too. However, there is little evidence on fathers’ experiences when their partners are diagnosed with GDM is scarce.

Fathers can play an important role in helping women establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy and postpartum. In order to harness the potential for fathers to promote their own health and the health of pregnant women and their unborn infants, this project will inform the development of a father-inclusive intervention during and after a GDM-affected pregnancy, to support healthy behaviour for the whole family and reduce the subsequent risk of developing type 2 diabetes among mothers, fathers and their offspring.

Project aim

The aim of this research is to inform the development of an intervention which focuses on fathers’ potential to implement and support changes in lifestyle for the whole family, during and after a GDM-affected pregnancy.

The research has the following components:

  1. A systematic review, to understand what is already known about fathers’ experiences of pregnancies affected by GDM, their perceived role in reducing risk of subsequent development of type 2 diabetes among their partners and themselves.
  2. Consultation with fathers, to understand their experiences of a GDM-affected pregnancy and their role in supporting healthier lifestyle changes in the perinatal period. In order to include other perspectives of fathers’ role in implementing changes in health behaviours, consultation will also include women affected by GDM during pregnancy and health care providers who provide care for women with GDM and their families during pregnancy and the postpartum period;
  3. Examination of current practice and context among health care professionals. This includes the extent to which they currently invite or include fathers in consultations and care planning with women with GDM, during and after pregnancy, and their perceptions of barriers and enablers to including fathers in health care for women with GDM.
  4. Modelling an intervention, and developing a theoretical model of the process and mechanism for change.

Important dates

Applications will remain open until a candidate has been appointed.


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,900 per annum tax exempt (2022 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500 - 1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic candidate currently residing in Australia. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

How to apply

Please apply using the Find a Research Supervisor tool


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Dr Karen Wynter or Prof Bodil Rasmussen

Dr Karen Wynter
Senior Research Fellow
Email Karen Wynter
+61 3 924 68413

Prof Bodil Rasmussen
Chair In Nursing (Western Health)
Email Bodil Rasmussen
+61 3 924 46425