In 2011, the Academic Collaborative Centre took the initiative of creating a regional consortium. Grant application was submitted to The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMW) in September 2011 and a few months later ZonMW gave a positive response to further development of the Regional Consortium Pregnancy & Childbirth. Almost all partners in birth care from different fields (practice, research, education, policy) in the Southwest region of the Netherlands have signed a cooperation agreement for participation in the regional consortium.
ZonMW's research agenda Pregnancy & Childbirth (2010) indicates that collective development of knowledge promotes integration of care, and that this development of knowledge should ideally take place in multidisciplinary, trans-boundary consortia in which birth care professionals of various types of health-care (primary, secondary and tertiary care) are involved. In 2011, the academic collaborative centre took the initiative of creating such a regional consortium. The grand application was submitted to ZonMW in September 2011, and a few months later, ZonMW gave a positive response to the further development of the regional consortium. Almost all partners in birth care in the southwest region of the Netherlands (midwives, gynaecologists, paediatricians, post-partum nursery organizations, regional support structures (so-called 'ROSsen'), the GGD, Centre for Children and Families. Youth Care, Centres for laboratories and ultrasounds, university and two universities of applied sciences) have signed a cooperation agreement for participation in the regional consortium.
The participating healthcare organizations in the Southwest region of the Netherlands have indicated that there are different regional initiatives to improve the health of vulnerable pregnant women, particularly with regard to psychosocial complications, psychopathology and substance abuse. They also indicated that they want to develop this matter on a regional level. Furthermore there is a need for enabling scientific basis and support to enable the development of an integrated obstetric care organization. Finally, there is a strong desire to reduce the prevalence of the conditions dysmaturity and prematurity. To meet all these topics, regional development of knowledge and exchange of knowledge is needed.
This led to the initiation of a collective content-based project 'joining forces against joint risks: structured preventive antenatal and postnatal care for vulnerable families in the Southwest of the Netherlands'. The central theme of this project is that psychosocial problems, psychopathology and substance abuse (PPM) that present themselves during the first phase of pregnancy are related to the onset of prematurity and dysmaturity later in pregnancy.