Following the birth of my first child I experienced severe back pain, despite the fact that I was strong and fit. Managing the 24/7 relay of work involved in caring for a baby made me think about better ways to undertake manual childcare work. As a result, I designed a range of ergonomic alternatives to the most common parenting accessories.
During my time in business, I communicated with hundreds of women and began to see a pattern of childcare work and equipment related back pain issues. Amazingly, there was almost no helpful research and I came to realise there was much to be understood about pregnant and post-partum women and the implications for back pain and injury.
After completing a Bachelor of Science at UWA I undertook a Masters degree, “Manual handling in childcare work: components of back injury risk during the task of nappy changing”. My research involved measuring biomechanical forces on the lower back of pregnant and non-pregnant women when performing lifting tasks common in child care. According to my thesis examiner my research “made a major contribution to ergonomics” by adding “considerably to the depth of understanding of child care tasks, tasks of which are commonly taken for granted, and which have received little study”. I am currently completing a PhD “Women, Hormones & Back Pain” at the University of Western Australia.
My area of expertise is in the biomechanics and ergonomics of childcare work. My scientific interest is in the relationship between reproductive hormones, manual handling and lower back pain and function in women. My creative passion is industrial design.