ACE Feeding Study

The Antenatal Colostrum Expression (ACE) Study

Are you expecting your first child? Are you interested in learning how to hand-express in pregnancy?

The ACE Study aims to determine whether hand expressing of colostrum in the last few weeks of pregnancy can help new mothers to breastfeed. We are comparing two education approaches – hand expressing education by a midwife and watching an instructional video. Results of this study will better inform how we provide pregnant mothers information on antenatal expressing of colostrum.

Who can participate?

The study is looking to recruit pregnant women planning to birth at Joondalup or Armadale who:

  • Are less than 30 weeks pregnant
  • Have not previously had children
  • Are pregnant with only one baby (not twins or triplets)
  • Are planning to breastfeed
  • Do not have any complications around pregnancy (i.e. cervical incompetence or placenta praevia)
  • Are open to the idea of learning about hand expressing in the last few weeks of pregnancy

What does participation involve?

If you meet the criteria and agree to participate, you will be randomised into one of two groups for hand expressing instruction;

  • Midwife group: you will attend a face-to-face session with a midwife; or
  • Video group: provided with a link to watch a 15-minute instructional video at home.

You will be asked to have a go at hand expressing according to the instructions given (2 to 3 times per day, from week 37 gestation) and asked to keep an online expressing diary.

We will also ask you to complete a questionnaire (5-10 minutes to complete) to determine your thoughts around breastfeeding prior to birth and again when your baby is four-weeks-old.

From your medical records, we will be collecting information on you and your baby’s medical information, and how you feed your baby.

After your birth, we will give you a call at around one, four, eight, 12 and 16 weeks after the birth of your baby, to collect some more information. Calls will take approximately five minutes each.

Optional: Provision of a colostrum sample

Participants will also be given the opportunity to take part in an optional component of the study. This involves collecting a sample of colostrum or ‘first milk’ after the birth of their baby. The sample will be frozen for analysis at a later date to compare the nutritional profile of colostrum of mothers who hand express against colostrum of mothers who do not hand express. You will be asked at around 36 weeks gestation if you would like to be a part of this component of the study. 

This project is being conducted in collaboration with Edith Cowan University.

For more information:

Download the Participant Information Brochure

Visit our Facebook Page: The ACE Study

Contact: Julie Hill, Project Coordinator  


Ph: +61 8 6304 5697    m: 0480 158 664

Pregnant woman sitting on a couch holding her belly.
Woman breastfeeding baby.
Woman breastfeeding baby.
Woman laying down breastfeeding baby.

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