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Educational Resources and Useful Links

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This section contains links to other useful websites that can provide reliable, up to date and evidenced based information on a wide range of women’s health related topics. We aim to provide a variety of useful resources that will empower women across the lifespan to make informed choices about their health and wellbeing.

The following pages provide culturally appropriate and multilingual factsheets in a range of languages:

After Your Pregnancy Loss

It is normal to feel a range of emotions following your pregnancy loss. Your GP is a good resource to offer support however they may refer you to the Early Pregnancy Assessment Service (EPAS) at John Hunter Hospital for ongoing care. The EPAS staff will help you through your grief and are able to refer you to the John Hunter Social Work Service should you need additional support.

Some ongoing bleeding and cramping pain is expected following a miscarriage. Please read the following factsheet for more information.


After your miscarriage

Catheter Care

If you have recently had surgery and have been informed that you will go home with a urinary catheter, there is some important information that you need to know.

Please read the following brochure for more information:

CAUTIPatientInformationFlyerEnglish.pdf (nsw.gov.au)

Cervical Screening

Cervical Cancer can be prevented by early detection of abnormal changes to the cervix and offering appropriate treatment. This is achieved by routine cervical screening.

Women and people with a cervix aged 25-74 are invited to routine cervical screening every 5 years in Australia.

Cervical screening is a simple test performed by your GP, nurse or healthcare worker.

Learn more:


RANZCOG - Cervical Screening in Australia


About the National Cervical Screening Program | Australian Government Department of Health

Cervical screening test | healthdirect

Cervical screening | Cancer Institute NSW


Colposcopy is an examination of the cervix. You may be referred to the colposcopy clinic if your cervical screening test has returned an abnormal result. It is important to remember that this does not automatically mean you have cervical cancer.

A colposcope is a special kind of magnifying glass that allows the specialist doctor to have a closer look at the cells on the cervix.

If you have been referred to the colposcopy clinic and would like more information:


Colposcopy Patient information


Contraception means preventing a pregnancy from occurring. There are many contraceptive options available. These include:

  • Oral contraceptive pill
  • Condoms (male and female)
  • Hormonal vaginal ring
  • Diaphragm and cervical cap
  • Contraceptive injection
  • Long acting reversible contraception (LARC) – Hormonal implant, hormonal IUD’s and Copper IUD
  • Fertility Awareness Based Methods
  • Withdrawal
  • Emergency contraception
  • Female/ Male sterilisation

Contraceptive choice is a very personal decision and is different for each person. It is important to consider your individual needs, the effectiveness of each option against pregnancy, possible side effects, cost and availability, protection against sexually transmitted infections and how easily the contraceptive can be reversed.

For more information on the different contraception options:


CONTRACEPTION CHOICES.pdf (fpnsw.org.au)


Contraception | Family Planning NSW (fpnsw.org.au)

Contraception | Jean Hailes

Contraception | The Royal Women's Hospital (thewomens.org.au)

Emergency Contraception | Family Planning NSW (fpnsw.org.au)

Diversity of Gender and Sexual Orientation

LGBTIQ people experience poorer health outcomes compared to the general population which is driven by health issues that disproportionally affect the LGBTIQ community. Unfortunately LGBTIQ people experience a high level of social stigma, discrimination and social isolation which causes a great deal of mental and emotional distress.

NSW Health has made a commitment to improve the health outcomes of LGBTIQ people and communities by implementing a clear strategy to focus on the needs of the most vulnerable and ensuring every person has access to adequate healthcare.

For more information on the NSW LGBTIQ Health Strategy 2022 – 2027, follow the link:

lgbtiq-health-strategy.pdf (nsw.gov.au)

Maple Leaf House provides specialist holisitic healthcare to young trans and gender diverse children, adolescents and young people up to the age of 24 within the Newcastle region. For more information please contact:

Maple Leaf House

56 Stewert Avenue, Hamilton East NSW 2302

02) 40164980

For more information and resources that support trans and gender diverse people and their families in NSW:


Social — TransHub

Resources - Parents of Gender-Diverse Children (Principle) (pgdc.org.au)


Domestic and Family Violence

Domestic and family violence is when someone uses violence or manipulation to control someone they are close to. Violence does not have to be physical. It can be in the form of verbal, psychological, emotional or sexual abuse. It can also involve social isolation or financial abuse. Children can also be exposed to domestic violence and this can have devastating impacts on a child’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732), The National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service if you are experiencing any form of abuse from another person and need support.

For NSW – Domestic Violence Line 1800 811 811


Domestic violence and abusive relationships - signs, effects and support | healthdirect

Family and domestic violence - Services Australia

What is domestic and family violence? | Family & Community Services (nsw.gov.au)

Domestic and family violence | 1800RESPECT

Violence against women | Jean Hailes

Ectopic Pregnancy

The term “ectopic” means in the wrong place. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilised egg settles in a location other than the uterus, most often in the fallopian tube.

Although the egg is fertilised, an ectopic pregnancy is not capable of survival. It is diagnosed by pregnancy test, pelvic examination or ultrasound scan.

Risk factors for an ectopic pregnancy include:

  • Previous pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • History of fertility treatments
  • A previous ectopic pregnancy
  • Any operation on the fallopian tubes
  • Endometriosis
  • Smoking

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Pregnancy symptoms such as a missed period, morning sickness, breast tenderness
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or lower back
  • Cramps on one side of the pelvis
  • Shoulder tip pain
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • If the fallopian tube ruptures: sudden severe abdominal pain, dizziness and or collapse can occur rapidly.

The treatment for ectopic pregnancy depends on how severe your symptoms are, how advanced your pregnancy is and whether or not your fallopian tube has ruptured.

For more information on Ectopic pregnancy and management

Fact Sheet

Ectopic Pregnancy Factsheet

Methotrexate and Ectopic Pregnancy factsheet


Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that normally lines the uterus (womb) is found in other areas of the body. Most commonly this tissue is found in the pelvis. Endometriosis can cause significant pain during a period cycle but can also affect fertility. Other symptoms include pain with sex, back pain, pain during other times of the menstrual cycle, pain with bowel motions and fatigue.

Learn more:

Fact Sheets

Endometriosis_pamphlet.pdf (ranzcog.edu.au)


Endometriosis | The Royal Women's Hospital (thewomens.org.au)

Endometriosis | Jean Hailes

Endometriosis | healthdirect

Emergency Contraception

If you have had unprotected sexual intercourse or there have been issues such as a missed pill or broken condom, emergency contraception is available at pharmacies to help prevent pregnancy.

For more information:


Emergency contraception (worldssl.net)

Emergency Contraception | Family Planning NSW (fpnsw.org.au)

Fertility and Pregnancy – OHSS

Infertility is defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy within 12 months of unprotected intercourse in people under 35yrs of age or within 6 months for people over 35yrs of age. Infertility can effect up to 15% of couples.

Infertility can be affected for many reasons. If you are experiencing difficulties falling pregnant, you should first make an appointment with your GP so they can undertake investigations.

Learn more:


Fertility & pregnancy | Jean Hailes

Your Fertility - Facts About Fertility & How To Improve Your Chance

Pregnancy, Birth and Baby | Pregnancy Birth and Baby (pregnancybirthbaby.org.au)

Fertility and Infertility | Family Planning NSW (fpnsw.org.au)


Fibroids are non cancerous growths that develop in and around the muscle layer of the womb (uterus). Fibroids are common later in reproductive years and often get smaller once women go through menopause.

Most fibroids remain small and don’t cause many problems. However larger or multiple fibroids can cause symptoms such as:

  • Heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding
  • pelvic and lower back pain, particularly during a period
  • pain during intercourse
  • difficulty with passing urine or a bowel motion

Fibroids are more common in women over the age of 35, obese persons, if you’re first period commenced early in life, have never given birth, have a family history of fibroids, have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Learn more:


Fibroids | Jean Hailes

Uterine fibroids - symptoms, treatments and causes | healthdirect

Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD) or Molar Pregnancy

Gestational Trophoblastic disease (GTD) is a rare form of pregnancy that occurs in 1 out of every 1200 pregnancies. It is also known as a molar pregnancy.

The most common form of GTD is known as hydatiform mole. This describes an abnormal growth of the placenta. A placenta is the part of the pregnancy that feeds the baby all its required nutrients to grow inside of you. As the placenta grows abnormally, it produces high levels of pregnancy hormones that makes the woman feel pregnant.

Sadly a molar pregnancy does not continue as the baby does not develop at all.

For more information on Molar Pregnancy please see below:


Molar Pregnancy


Gestational-Trophablastic-Disease.pdf (ranzcog.edu.au)

Gestational Trophoblastic Disease - Molar Pregnancy (health.qld.gov.au)

Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Heavy menstrual bleeding is described as prolonged or excessive blood loss that has an impact on your quality of life. It is difficult to determine whether your bleeding is too heavy because everyone experiences periods differently.

Some signs of excessive heavy bleeding include:

  • Soaking through a pad or tampon every hour or less
  • Passing clots greater than the size of a 50c piece
  • Losing more than 80mls of blood (equates to 5-6 tablespoons of blood)
  • Having to change your pad or tampon through the night
  • Bleeding through clothing
  • Bleeding for more than 7-8 days.

Learn more:


RANZCOG - Heavy Menstrual Bleeding


Heavy bleeding | Jean Hailes

Heavy periods | The Royal Women's Hospital (thewomens.org.au)


Hysteroscopy is a minor procedure that is used to look inside the uterus (womb). Hysteroscopy is completed in the operating theatres under a general anaesthetic.

A hysteroscopy may be offered to investigate certain problems such as:

  • Heavy or irregular bleeding
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Infertility
  • Recurrent miscarriages
  • Finding an intrauterine device

For more information


RANZCOG - Hysteroscopy

Hysteroscopy (worldssl.net)


There are two main common types of urinary incontinence which can have a negative impact on your quality of life.

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is when you leak urine or wet yourself during activity. SUI is very common affecting approximately 1 in every 3 women.

Urge incontinence is caused by an overactive bladder, giving you the urge to regularly go to the toilet and not making it in time.

Urinary incontinence is caused by the weakening of the support system within the pelvis that holds the bladder and urethra in place which then allows for urine to escape.

Women that are pregnant, have had children, been through menopause, have a prolapse, suffer from constipation, are overweight, smoke or have a chronic cough are more likely to suffer from urinary incontinence.

Learn More:




Incontinence prevention, management & support | Continence Foundation of Australia

Incontinence & Bladder Weakness | Jean Hailes

Bladder health 101: tips to improve bladder control | Jean Hailes


A laparoscopy is also known as keyhole surgery. A great deal of gynaecology surgeries are now performed laparoscopically. It is an operation that is attended in the operating theatres under a general anaesthetic that allows the gynaecology specialist to look at the pelvic organs including uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and upper portion of the cervix.

You may be recommended to undergo a laparascopy if you have the following:

  • Suspected ovarian cysts
  • Infertility
  • Pelvic pain
  • Suspected ectopic pregnancy
  • Endometriosis

Laparoscopy may also performed in certain types of surgeries such as tubal sterilisation, hysterectomy, removal of fibroids or treatment of prolapse and incontinence.

For more information please read:


Laparoscopy-pamphlet.pdf (ranzcog.edu.au)

Laproscopy.pdf (worldssl.net)


Menopause represents the end of a woman’s reproductive life. This means the woman has a final menstrual period as the ovaries no longer release any eggs. Menopause usually occurs between 45 – 60 yrs of age. Most women experience menopause at the expected age but some women can experience premature menopause which occurs before the age 40. This can be caused for various reasons such as primary ovarian insufficiency, surgery where the ovaries have been removed or some cancer treatments.

Women can experience a range of symptoms when going through the early stages of menopause (known as perimenopause) as the ovaries begin running out of eggs. Symptoms include hot flushes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, night sweats, difficulty sleeping and pain with sex. There are a range of options to help with these symptoms.

Learn more:


Menopause-pamphlet.pdf (ranzcog.edu.au)


Fact Sheets - Australasian Menopause Society

Menopause | Jean Hailes

Menopause/HRT | Family Planning NSW (fpnsw.org.au)

Miscarriage and Pregnancy loss

Miscarriage occurs when a pregnancy stops growing. Miscarriage is very common in the few weeks of pregnancy and unfortunately there is usually no identifiable reason why a miscarriage occurs.

A miscarriage can be diagnosed at different stages of the pregnancy. Sometimes women first develop symptoms of pain or bleeding unexpectedly, or examination findings such as blood tests or ultrasound may find a pregnancy has stopped growing.

Eventually the pregnancy will pass through the womb either naturally, taking medication or having surgery.

Following the loss of a pregnancy it is very common to experience grief and have lots of questions. Your GP is always a good place to obtain information about miscarriage or the Early Pregnancy Assessment Service (EPAS) offers support to women experiencing pregnancy complications up to 18 weeks gestation. Your GP can refer women to EPAS for ongoing care during their miscarriage period.

For more information:

Fact Sheet:

Miscarriage Factsheet

Pregnancy Loss (ranzcog.edu.au)

Supportive links:

Miscarriage | The Royal Women's Hospital (thewomens.org.au)

The Pink Elephants Support Network - Home


Guiding Light - Red Nose Grief and Loss | Supporting you on your journey after the death of a child

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) is a potentially serious complication of fertility treatment, especially with in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

OHSS can range from mild to severe symptoms. Mild OHSS is common and usually resolves itself overtime however more severe cases require hospital admission with specialist care.

Symptoms can include abdominal swelling, pain, nausea/vomiting, and in more severe cases difficulty breathing, severe thirst and dehydration, forming of blood clots.

For more information on OHSS



Pelvic Organ Prolapse

The organs of a woman’s pelvis contain the uterus, vagina, bladder and bowel. Throughout a woman’s lifespan the supporting ligaments and tissue supporting these internal organs can become weak as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, menopause and age, constipation, excessive weight, smoking and/or chronic cough or inherited risks. This weaking can result in the pelvic organs dropping down out of place.

Learn more about different types of pelvic organ prolapses and treatment options:


Pelvic-Organ-Prolapse-KK19.pdf (ranzcog.edu.au)


Pelvic Organ Prolapse | Women | Continence Foundation of Australia

Prolapse & Bladder Weakness | Jean Hailes

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is an infection of the uterus (womb), fallopian tubes and ovaries. PID is usually caused by having unprotected sex with a partner that has a sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea. Often partners may not know they have an infection as they may not have symptoms.

On rarer occasions PID can occur as a result of a gynaecology procedure or following the insertion of an intrauterine device.

If left untreated, PID can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes which can cause problems with fertility in the future.

Learn More:


Pelvic Inflammatory Disease | Family Planning NSW (fpnsw.org.au)

Pelvic inflammatory disease | healthdirect


The menstrual cycle is a cycle controlled by female hormones that causes a regular bleed, also known as menstruation or a period.  Menstrual cycles are different for each person and can vary from 21-38 days. However there are factors that can affect the length of time between cycles. These include:

  • Excessive exercise
  • Stress
  • Weight loss
  • Travel

The volume and length of bleeding also varies from one person to another.

The role of the menstrual cycle is to ultimately prepare the body for a possible pregnancy. When a pregnancy has not occurred, a period follows. In Australia, women will experience approximately 450-500 periods in a lifetime.

For more information on Periods:


About the menstrual cycle | Jean Hailes

Periods | Jean Hailes

Periods | Family Planning NSW (fpnsw.org.au)

About periods | The Royal Women's Hospital (thewomens.org.au)

Period Pain

Painful periods is also known as dysmenorrhoea. It is very common for women to experience pain during a period, and more common in adolescents and women in their 20’s. Most often period pain can be managed with simple remedies such as heatpacks, some herbal remedies or over the counter pain medication. Period pain often resolves on its own without any intervention.

More severe cases of period pain that stops you from being able to complete daily activities or attending school may need further investigation as there may be other causes for period pain. You should make an appointment to see your GP if you experience severe period pain.

For more information:


Period pain | Jean Hailes

Period Problems | Family Planning NSW (fpnsw.org.au)

Pain and symptom diary (jeanhailes.org.au)

Pelvic pain: know the different causes and when to seek… | Jean Hailes

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal problem that affects approximately 8-13% of Australian women.

Women that are diagnosed with PCOS have high levels of male hormones produced from the ovaries which can lead to problems with irregular periods, acne, excessive hair growth to face and body and is also one of the leading causes of fertility problems.

Women with PCOS are also at higher risk of developing other problems such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Higher risk of heart disease and cholesterol
  • Cancer of the uterus (womb)
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Problems with weight management
  • Problems with sex and relationships

For more information:


All about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) | Jean Hailes

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) | healthdirect

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome | Family Planning NSW (fpnsw.org.au)

Post Menopausal Bleeding

A women is considered to be menopausal when there has been an absence of menstrual bleeding for 12 months. After this time any bleeding at all is not normal.

Up to 1 in 10 women experience bleeding after menopause (also known as post menopausal bleeding) and most often this is nothing to be concerned about. However it is important for any type of vaginal bleeding after menopause to be investigated as it sometimes can be a sign of cancer in the cervix or uterus (womb).

There are a few reasons why post menopausal bleeding may occur. These include:

  • Inflammation to the lining of the uterus (womb) or vagina
  • Thinning of the lining of the uterus
  • Polyps (benign growths) in the cervix or uterus
  • Thickening of the lining of the uterus as a result of being on hormone replacement therapy
  • Abnormal changes to the cervix or uterus

For more information:


Bleeding after menopause | healthdirect

Pregnancy options

Unplanned pregnancies are common in Australia with approximately 50% of all pregnancies being unplanned. It is normal to feel mixed emotions when finding out that you are pregnant unexpectedly.

Often individuals or couples are left to make the difficult decision if the pregnancy should continue. A range of support services are available to help make decisions on unplanned pregnancies.

Learn more:


Abortion | Family Planning NSW (fpnsw.org.au)

Unplanned pregnancy | healthdirect

Unplanned pregnancy in Australia - Children by Choice

Considering Abortion? Unplanned Pregnancy? - Pregnancy Counselling Australia

Preventing Blood Clots

Sometimes blood can pool inside of veins which can cause a blood clot. Blood clots are a leading cause of preventable death in Australia. Being in hospital increases the risk of developing a blood clot particularly if you have had surgery or aren’t able to move around as usual.

People at risk of developing a blood clot include:

  • Patient’s over 60 years of age
  • Obesity
  • Previous blood clot
  • Family history of blood clots
  • Pregnancy or recent childbirth
  • Patient’s with cancer or are undergoing cancer treatment
  • Patients on the contraceptive pill
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Patient’s with a chronic illness or blood disease.

For more information:


Preventing Blood Clots - Information for patients & carers (nsw.gov.au)

VTE Matters

Reproductive Cancers

Cancer is a disease of the body’s cells causing abnormal cells to grow and invade our normally healthy tissue and organs.

Most cancers begin in an organ known as the primary site. Sometimes cancer cells can break off and spread to other tissues or organs via the bloodstream or lymph nodes. This is called metastasis.

There are some cancers that are specific to the reproductive organs.

For more information follow these useful links:

Cancer of the Cervix

Cervical Cancer | Jean Hailes

Cervical cancer | Cancer Institute NSW

Cervical cancer (canceraustralia.gov.au)

Cancer of the Ovaries

Ovarian Cancer Australia - Ovarian Cancer Support Resources & Fact sheets | OCA

Ovarian Cancer | Jean Hailes

Ovarian cancer (canceraustralia.gov.au)

Ovarian cancer | Cancer Institute NSW

Cancer of the Uterus

Uterine cancer | Cancer Institute NSW

Uterine sarcoma (canceraustralia.gov.au)

Cancer of the uterus (womb) | Jean Hailes

Cancer of the Vagina

Vaginal cancer | Jean Hailes

Vaginal cancer | Cancer Institute NSW

Vaginal cancer (canceraustralia.gov.au)

Cancer of the Vulva

Vulval cancer (canceraustralia.gov.au)

Vulvar cancer | Cancer Institute NSW

Vulvar cancer | Jean Hailes

Cancer of the Fallopian Tube

Fallopian tube cancer | Jean Hailes

Fallopian cancer (canceraustralia.gov.au)

Sex and Intimacy after Cancer

A cancer diagnosis can greatly impact a person physically, emotionally and mentally. Some treatments of cancer can have significant side effects and affect a woman’s appearance which can lead to poor self-esteem and body image issues, ultimately impacting on relationships. For some people this may be temporary while others may find these issues to be long term.

Cancer and the treatments for cancer can also affect a person’s fertility. Some cancer treatments including chemotherapy and radiation therapy can damage the organs that are needed to produce a pregnancy such as the ovaries. Your treating team will discuss your options prior to starting treatment if there are concerns for fertility.

For more information:


Fertility and cancer - treatments, preserving fertility | Pregnancy Birth and Baby (pregnancybirthbaby.org.au)

Sex & intimacy after cancer | Jean Hailes

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault is a legal term that describes any unwanted sexual behaviour that is enforced upon another person without consent.

This can include inappropriate kissing, touching, showing indecent images as well as penetration of a person with either a body part or object.

Sexual assault is a crime in Australia and you have the option to report any sexual assault to police. It is also your choice to seek medical care after a sexual assault but it is important to remember that presenting to hospital or seeing a doctor does not mean that you have to make a police report.

Support services are available to persons experiencing sexual assault. NSW Health Sexual Assault Services are located in all local health districts across NSW and provide free advice and counselling, information and support, medical care, forensic examination and court preparation.

Local NSW Health Sexual Assault Services can be found below

Sexual assault (nsw.gov.au)


Sexual assault and rape - helplines, definition, reporting | healthdirect

Responding to sexual assault – a practical guide | Jean Hailes

What is sexual assault? - Women's Legal Service NSW (wlsnsw.org.au)

Sexual Health

Sex and sexuality are an important part of women’s health and wellbeing across the lifespan. Finding healthy relationships is an important process and is built on mutual respect, trust and compromise which enables both parties to be in control of their sex life.

Practicing safe sex can greatly reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), and also reduces the chance of unplanned pregnancy.

For more information:


Sexual health | healthdirect

Women's sexual health | Jean Hailes

Safer sex & STIs | Jean Hailes

Violence against Women

Vulval and Vaginal Conditions

The vulva is a woman’s external genitalia. The vagina is the internal tube that connects the uterus (womb) to the outside of the body. There are a number of conditions that can affect the vagina and vulva. Most conditions are easily treated but some symptoms may be more serious and need further investigation.

More information on symptoms and conditions can be found below.


Vulva & vagina (jeanhailes.org.au)

Vulva pain | Jean Hailes

Vulval & vaginal irritation | Jean Hailes

Vulval & vaginal conditions | Jean Hailes

Common Vaginal & Vulval Conditions | Family Planning NSW (fpnsw.org.au)

Patient Information - ANZVS