Tour Des Femmes to ride for HMRI post-natal research

Sep 3 2013

Tour des Femmes

Tour des Femmes is hitting the Southern Highlands to raise funds
The third annual Tour Des Femmes cycling event, representing “women who can doing it for women who can’t”, will leave Sydney on Friday morning, bound for Bowral in the Southern Highlands and 320 kilometres of riding over three days.

Funds raised from the Tour will support an HMRI/University of Newcastle post-natal depression program known as ‘Here’s Looking at You, Kid’ run by Associate Professor Carmel Loughland and Dr Linda Campbell, as well as endometriosis research at the University of Sydney.

“Post-natal depression is extremely debilitating,” Associate Professor Loughland said. “Mothers are robbed of the joy of caring for their baby, of being able to build that very important and special bond between mother and child.

“Our project explores how post-natal depression interferes with the ability of parents to respond to the emotional needs and cues of their infant.”
Data has so far shown that mothers with post-natal depression show a “negative bias” for interpreting their infant’s emotional displays, misinterpreting neutral expressions as being mostly unhappy.

“This can impact on the mother-infant bond, with mothers perceiving fewer happy occasions with her baby and potentially reducing the number of positive interactions between them,” Associate Professor Loughland added.

“It may also impact on mothers’ ability to provide sensitive caregiving or for her to respond inappropriately to infant distress, which may have adverse consequences over time for the infant’s social, emotional and physical wellbeing.”

Here’s Looking at You, Kid is the first study to demonstrate this misattribution trait for infants.

Money previously raised by the Tour Des Femmes has supported a PhD student to undertake the research. This year, the riders hope to raise $50,000.

“We have our largest group or riders and fund raising is ahead of last year’s schedule,” one of the organisers, Gillian McDonald, said.

“We started in 2011 with just eight women and this year will have 15 riders, including eight new faces. The ride is hilly and challenging but the scenery is spectacular and hopefully the weather will be reasonably cool.”

A Supporter Ride on Sunday has attracted 30 riders, including some male cyclists. There will also be a charity auction and private donations. Details at

HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.