Reproductive Health Workgroup
The Reproductive Health Workgroup was created in 2009 to address the many facets surrounding reproductive health with an eye towards influencing provincial policy and systems to enhance reproductive health for Ontarians.
Reproductive health is an encompassing term which ultimately affects the overall health and well-being of all.
To advocate for accessible and equitable reproductive health services and supports across Ontario to better meet the physical, emotional and psychosocial needs of all individuals, regardless of gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation, in their reproductive years.
The Ontario Public Health Association Reproductive Health Workgroup is a dynamic and innovative force, enhancing and reshaping systems that support the public’s reproductive health, inclusive of all gender identities, gender expressions or sexual orientations. Reproductive health includes preconception health from puberty, prenatal health, labour and birth, healthy birth outcomes, postpartum health and transition to parenthood.
The mission of the Ontario Public Health Association Reproductive Health Workgroup is to provide leadership and advocacy for issues affecting the public’s reproductive health, inclusive of all gender identities, gender expressions or sexual orientations and to strengthen the impact of people who are active in public and community health throughout Ontario.
Our membership includes providers, research and policy professionals from public health, perinatal and child health sectors.
Involvement in External Committees
Our members have worked with a number of interdisciplinary external committees including:
- Best Start Resource Centre Prenatal Education Key Messages Advisory Committee
- Central South West Reproductive Health Working Group
- CSEP Physical Activity Guidelines for Pregnant Women – Guidelines Development Steering Committee
- Ontario Preconception Health Research Project
- Public Health Ontario – Healthy Human Development Table
The RHWG has focused advocacy work in the area of preconception health (PCH) and the importance of physiological labour and birth (L&B) and informed decision making. The WG advocates on reproductive health issues at the provincial level with:
- Association of Public Health Epidemiologists of Ontario (APHEO)
- Better Outcomes Registry and Network (BORN Ontario)
- Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC)
- Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP)
- Ontario Family Health Network
- Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health (PCMCH)
- Public Health Ontario (PHO)
Accomplishments and Ongoing Work
- Collaborated with Western University through nursing practicum placements to complete literature reviews on decision support in labour and birth, working towards the development of an RNAO Best Practice guideline (2020).
- Exploring opportunity for a provincial PCH campaign (2019).
- Exploring collaborations with OPHA Alcohol and Cannabis Workgroups (2019).
- Advocacy letter to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario to explore updating signage for Bill 43 Sandy’s Law (February 2019).
- Exploring advocacy for OHIP PCH billing code (2018-2019).
- Input provided to the Centre for Effective Practice on the Preconception Health Care Tool (December 2018).
- Input provided to OPHA letter to the Ministry of Education on the Health & Physical Education Curriculum. (December 2018).
- Co-presented position paper Informed Decision-Making for Labour and Birth (2nd ed.) with Dr. Sarah Buckley at the 31st Annual Southwestern Ontario Maternal, Newborn, Child and Youth Network Perinatal Outreach Conference (September 2018).
- Updated the Informed Decision-Making for Labour and Birth (2nd ed.) position paper (September 2018).
- Endorsed the 2019 Canadian guideline for physical activity throughout pregnancy (July 2018).
- Presented position paper Informed Decision-Making for Labour and Birth at 2018 BSRC Conference (February 2018).
- Presented position paper Informed Decision-Making for Labour and Birth at Simcoe-Muskoka Perinatal Health Trends and Issues Workshop (October 2017).
- Input provided to the Best Start Resource Centre Risks of Cannabis on Fertility, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Parenting (July 2017).
- Advocacy letter to Health Canada to raise awareness of commercialization of placental encapsulation (June 2017).
- Input provided to the Best Start Resource Centre Health Before Pregnancy website (June 2017).
- Presented position paper Informed Decision-Making for Labour and Birth at Niagara Region Public Health (June 2017)
- Launched Labour and Birth position paper Informed Decision-Making for Labour and Birth (May 2017)
- Input provided to Best Start Resource Centre 2017 Preconception Health Pre-Conference Workshop (2016).
- Input provided to the Best Start Resource Centre Labour & Birth Prenatal Education Modules updates (2016).
- Developed a Labour and Birth position paper Informed Decision-Making for Labour and Birth (November 2016).
- Input provided to Best Start Resource Centre Health Before Pregnancy website (November 2016).
- Co-facilitated an OPHA webinar with the Breastfeeding Promotion Network in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health, the Association of Ontario Midwives and the BFI Strategy for Ontario: Impact of Labour and Birth on Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (September 2016).
- Provided feedback to BORN Public Health working group on wish list of reproductive health indicators related to preconception health to be added to the BORN data cube (May 2016).
- Input provided to the Best Start Resource Centre My Reproductive Life Plan (Adults) (March 2016)
- Input provided to the Best Start Resource Centre Healthy Beginnings: Your handbook for pregnancy and birth (February 2016).
- Letter of support for Bill 141 “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, Research and Care Act” and considerations for financial and other supports needed for its effective implementation (February 2016).
- Presented to the Healthy Human Development Table “Perinatal Health in Ontario: A broad perspective from the OPHA reproductive health workgroup.” Link between poor mental health before pregnancy and pregnancy complications and poor birth outcomes (January 2016).
- Input provided to the Modernization of the Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS), Reproductive Health Standard.
- Member of the Best Start Resource Centre Adult Reproductive Life Plan Advisory (2015 – 2016).
- Input provided to the Provincial Council for Maternal & Child Health Low Risk Maternal Newborn Strategy (December 2015).
- Input provided to Best Start Resource Centre “A Healthy Start for Baby and Me” prenatal manual revision (December 2015).
- Co-facilitated workshop at Family Medicine Forum (November 2015).
- Letter of support to innovators of the SmartMoms app (October 2015).
- Reviewed content of the OMama App by BORN (Better Outcomes Registry & Network in Ontario) (July 2015).
- Facilitated an OPHA webinar to promote the preconception health position paper To view the webinar, Let’s SHIFT our focus – Preconception Health (May 2015).
- Presented at The Ontario Public Health Convention Changing the landscape for reproductive health in Ontario: A panel discussion on preconception health promotion and care (March 2015).
- Developed a preconception health position paper, Shift – Enhancing the health of Ontarians: A call to action for preconception health promotion and care (February 2015).
- Launched the preconception health position paper at the 2015 BSRC Conference (February 2015). View video here.
- Participated in the review of the Preconception Health Care Tool developed by the Centre for Effective Practice (Fall 2014).
- Collaborated with University of Ottawa on CHNET webinar #384 Caesarean Section After the Hospital: Public Health Perspectives on the CARE Strategy (April 2014).
- Supported the development of the Best Start Resource Centre My Life My Plan (Teens) (March 2014).
- Feedback for Public Consultation on Caesarean Section Rate Review: An Evidence-Based Analysis (October 2013).
- Advocacy efforts with PCMCH for prioritization of the development of best practice for birth in Ontario (December 2012 & February 2013).
Hilary Brown (RHWG Chair)
Deanna Stirling (RHWG Vice-Chair)
Mary Ann Gatbonton