Te Kukunetanga: Developing Cycle of Life Research Programme

Te Kukunetanga aims to improve the pregnancy journey and outcomes for wahine and their whanau.

A women’s body undergoes unique progressive changes in shape and size throughout pregnancy and in the six months after the birth. While it's generally accepted that the physical changes experienced throughout this time affect the way women walk, balance, exercise and carry out daily tasks, we currently have limited insight into how these changes evolve across time, and how they differ between women.

By monitoring physical and functional changes of women throughout pregnancy and post-natal, we can develop foundational knowledge of the pregnancy journey, which will provide an opportunity to inform health-related practices for pregnant women.

Te Kukunetanga launch panelists

In the news:

Prize draw for Physical Evolution through Pregnancy study

Ten $169 Bella Mama massage vouchers to be won.

To enter, book in for a Physical Evolution through Pregnancy (PEP) data collection session by 23:59 on 31 August 2022 for the prize draw on 1 September 2022. Bookings for dates after 1 September 2022 will still be eligible for entry in the prize draw.

  • Participation in the research is based on voluntary informed consent.
  • Entry is open to all individuals who meet the inclusion criteria outlined in the Participant Information Sheet
  • Entry into the prize draw is automatic for those who have visited AUT Millennium for a data collection, or are booked in for a data collection session and will be restricted to one entry only.
  • The winners will be selected at random from the list of participants by the deadline (23:59 NZT on 31.08.22).
  • The prize draw is organised and administered by the Te Kukunetanga study team at the Auckland University of Technology in partnership with Bella Mama and will take place shortly after the prize-draw closes.
  • We reserve the right to amend the date of the prize draw accordingly.
  • Participants can withdraw their participation from the study without losing their entry into the prize draw.
  • No cash alternatives will be available. We reserve the right to offer an alternative gift of similar specification and value should this be necessary.
  • The winners will be notified by email within 2 weeks of the draw.
  • If a winner is not able to confirm acceptance of the prize within 10 working days of being contacted by email, an alternative winner will be selected and notified by email once the confirmation time period of five working days has passed.
  • Identifiable information will only be displayed with the consent of the prize winners.

Participant recruitment

We are currently recruiting wahine who are pregnant, or are hoping to soon be pregnant for the Physical Evolution Through Pregnancy Project and/or the Running Evolution through Pregnancy Project at AUT Millennium (Antares Place, Albany, Auckland) and/or Maternal Wellbeing and Exercise through Pregnancy. You can express your interest to participate in our online form to participate in either. For Maternal Wellbeing and Exercise through Pregnancy please use the link above.

Benefits of participation:

  • Personal tracking of physical changes throughout your pregnancy
  • Expert advice through educational sessions and workshops to support your wellbeing during and beyond your pregnancy

Download the participant information sheet for studies at AUT Millennium

Download the participant information sheet for Maternal Wellbeing and Exercise through Pregnancy - Online Survey

Expression of interest

Alternatively, you contact

Te Kukunetanga research projects in progress

Te Kukunetanga research programme has several projects in progress. For details please click on the project titles below.

The Physical Evolution Through Pregnancy Project aims to improve health outcomes for pregnant women and their babies by monitoring changes in body shape and size, walking gait and balance throughout pregnancy and in the six months after the birth.

AUTEC ethics # 21/49

Principal investigator: Patria Hume

Participant recruitment - Physical Evolution through Pregnancy (PEP)

We are currently recruiting wahine who are pregnant, have recently given birth, or are hoping to soon be pregnant for the Physical Evolution Through Pregnancy Project at AUT Millennium (Antares Place, Albany, Auckland). You can express your interest to participate in our online form.

Download the participant information sheet

Expression of interest

Alternatively, you contact Dr Hannah Wyatt, email PEP@aut.ac.nz or call 021 0511 579

Associate investigators:

  • Dr Hannah Wyatt - AUT SPRINZ Post-doctoral Fellow, PEP Biomechanics Lead
  • Ms Sabina Just - AUT SPRINZ TK-PEP PhD scholar, certified and practicing midwife
  • Dr Kelly Sheerin - AUT Millennium SPRINZ Clinics Manager and Senior Lecturer, PEP Kinanthropometry Lead
  • Dr Heather Donald - AUT Clinical Lecturer, PEP Midwifery Lead
  • Dr Dean Mahuta - AUT Senior Lecturer, Vision Matauranga and Engagement Lead
  • Dr Sally Britnell – AUT Senior Lecturer, PEP Nursing Lead & Data Management Lead
  • Dr Sarah-Kate Millar - AUT Senior Lecturer, PEP Dynamic movement collaborator
  • Dr Nimisha Waller - AUT Clinical Lecturer, PEP Midwifery collaborator
  • Professor Susan Crowther - AUT Professor, PEP Midwifery collaborator
  • Professor Judith McAra-Couper - AUT Professor, PEP Midwifery collaborator
  • Dr Bridget Munro - PEP Biomechanics collaborator
  • Dr Jane Cappaert - PEP Biomechanics collaborator
  • Dr Emily Lawrence - PEP Biomechanics collaborator
  • Dr Cailee Caldwell - PEP Biomechanics collaborator

Find out more

Project in development

Principal investigator: Sabina Just​

PhD Co-Supervisors:

  • Dr Hannah Wyatt
  • Dr Heather Donald
  • Dr Sarah-Kate Millar.

As a free and easily accessible form of exercise, running is popular among the general population. We aim to understand how changes during pregnancy influence running gait and the loading experienced,  with the purpose of providing clear recommendations for engagement with running throughout and beyond pregnancy.

AUTEC ethics # 21/401

Principal investigator: Dr Hannah Wyatt

Participant recruitment - Running Evolution through Pregnancy (REP)

We are currently recruiting wahine who have run for at least once per week for a minimum of 20 minutes before pregnancy.

Women will be invited to undertake motion analysis testing at monthly intervals at AUT Millennium.

Download the participant information sheet

Alternatively, you contact Dr Hannah Wyatt, email PEP@aut.ac.nz or call 021 0511 579

Associate investigators:

  • Dr Kelly Sheerin - AUT Millennium SPRINZ Clinics Manager and Senior Lecturer
  • Dr. Kim Hébert-Losier – University of Waikato Senior Lecturer and biomechanics lead
  • Professor Patria Hume – AUT SPRINZ Professor and PEP lead investigator
  • Isabel Neal – AUT SPRINZ placement student
  • William Huang – AUT SPRINZ placement student
  • Teea Francis – AUT SPRINZ placement student
  • Oliver Viant – AUT SPRINZ placement student

Find out more

The project will examine maternal psychological well-being throughout pregnancy and the post-natal period. We will look at the connections between mood, anxiety, social support, attitudes toward exercise, mother’s sleep, baby’s sleep and patterns of exercise and activity. We aim to be able to improve mothers’ engagement with exercise in the post-natal period, and to improve their wellbeing and mental health.

Recruiting now for this online survey - Click here for the survey

Download the participant information sheet for Maternal Wellbeing and Exercise through Pregnancy - Online Survey

AUTEC ethics #22/99

Principal investigator

  • Amy Kercher

Associate investigators:

  • Liesje Donkin
  • Hannah Wyatt
  • Patria Hume

The consumption of a rich-nutrient diet is especially important during pregnancy. Although a variety of whole foods are optimal, ensuring all nutritional needs are met during pregnancy can be challenging. We aim to increase our understanding of women's food consumption during pregnancy, with the purpose of enhancing education and strategies for optimising nutrition.

Vitamin A levels in pregnancy – at AUT Millennium - Expression of interest

AUTEC ethics # 21/144

Principle investigators:

  • Heather Donald
  • Hannah Wyatt

Te Kukunetanga research projects in development

Te Kukunetanga research programme has several projects in development. If you are a researcher, health provider, pregnant wahine, potential postgraduate student, or really interested in the Te Kukunetanga aims, and would like to help co-create these projects or others, please contact Professor Patria Hume.

Informed by the comprehensive longitudinal TK programme data set, the PCP project will investigate the influence of whole-body mass distribution changes throughout and post-pregnancy on strategies for static (balancing) and dynamic (walking) postural control. The research aim is to enhance our understanding of changes in whole-body stability, with the eventual purpose of developing interventions to enhance stability and reduce the risk of falls and potential injury for pregnant women.

Project in development

Principal investigator: Hannah Wyatt​

The Using Predictive Modelling to Improve Health Outcomes study will use TK data to model and predict physiological measures in pregnancy. Artificial intelligence analysis methods will help determine appropriate patient education and timing.

Project in development

Principal investigator: Sally Britnell​

Project in development

Principal investigator: Sarah Kate Millar

We aim to provide evidence based post-pregnancy return to duty guidelines for military personnel. Currently following confirmation of pregnancy, and up to 12 months after delivery of the baby, a member of the military (air force, navy and army) is exempt from fitness testing, contact sports, and formal fitness classes. We would like to develop better guidelines that take into account the individual pregnancy experiences for wahine. This means we need to firstly understand what the experiences and physical and mental health implications are for military personnel through the pregnancy journey.

Project in development

Principal investigator: Helen Kilding

Associate Investigators: Dr Samantha Rodrigues, Mr Andrew Richardson, Dr Hannah Wyatt, Professor Patria Hume

Our partners

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Contact us

Dr Hannah Wyatt
PEP Biomechanics Lead
pep@aut.ac.nz
021 0511 579

Participant recruitment - Physical Evolution through Pregnancy (PEP) and Running Evolution through Pregnancy (REP)

Expression of interest

Our team

This research programme has been co-created with iwi, interdisciplinary researchers and people from various backgrounds and ethnicities.

Meet the team

Evidence based guidance for pregnant wāhine

We provide practical tips based on information from research studies.

Find out more

Virtual walk-through

View our 3D room walk-through and protocol video for participants for the Te Kukunetanga: Physical Evolution Through Pregnancy Project.

Tour the rooms

Study with us

We are keen to collaborate with postgrad students who want to study how to improve health outcomes for pregnant women at master’s or doctoral level. Our supervisors are experienced in a range of fields.

Find out more