Professor Mary Carolan-Olah has been conducting research in high risk pregnancy for almost 10 years.

Her research has made significant impact in a number of areas, including:

  • Pregnancy in women over 35 years: successfully argued that educated and healthy women of low parity (<3 children) do not incur the same level of age related pregnancy risk as women of high parity and low socio economic backgrounds.
  • Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM): as an increasing concern for pregnant women. This research has highlighted factors that impact on women's understanding and uptake of GDM self management processes, including limited educational achievement, ethnicity, socio economic status and poor health literacy.
  • Predictors of perinatal morbidity: clearly established that older maternal age is associated with increased rates of caesarean section and induction of labour especially among private patients. It also examined, for the first time, the implications of both older maternal age and ethnicity on GDM rates among Victorian women (Australia) and found that ethnicity was an independent risk factor for GDM and also that this risk increased dramatically as women aged.
  • Ethnicity: initiated a debate on the impact of ethnicity and refugee status on pregnancy experience in Australia. This research has drawn attention to the antenatal care issues of African and other migrant women from low socio economic backgrounds and has resulted in a number of publications, guest speaker invitations and conference presentations.

Professor Carolan-Olah is a registered Nurse/certified midwife.

Research grants

Professor Carolan's most recent success (2008-2012) includes:

  • Diabetes Australia: $59,000 - Food for thought: Eating for your baby
  • Ian Potter Foundation: $50,000 - Developing an innovative educational program for high risk women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) Phase 2
  • Victoria University (post-doctoral funding) - Developing an innovative educational program for high risk women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) Phase 1
  • Ian Potter Foundation: $10,000 - Investigating the educational needs of high risk women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
  • Victoria University: $5,730 - Role of the midwife in Australia: perspective of third year midwifery students
  • University of Limerick and GP Assoc of Ireland: €10,000 - Limerick Lullaby Project
  • Victoria University: $44,081 - Perinatal morbidity among Australian women aged 35 years and older
  • Victoria University: $7,300 - Midwifery students' understanding of the role of the midwife.



Carolan, M.C. (2010). Doing it Properly: Transition to motherhood for first-time mothers 35 years and above. LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing, Saarbrücken, Germany

Book Chapters

Carolan, M. C. (2012). Refugee Women's Health In U. Sega, Elliott, D., (Ed.), Refugees Worldwide (Vol. 2). Austin University, Texas: Praeger. Chapter 7, pages 161-196.

Journal articles

Carolan M. (2012): 'A good midwife stands out': 3rd year midwifery students' views. Midwifery, DOI: 10.1016/j.midw.2011.11.005 ERA A*

Biro MA, Davey M-A, Carolan M, Kealy M. (2012): Advanced maternal age and obstetric morbidity for women giving birth in Victoria, Australia: A population-based study. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 52 (3), pp. 229-234. ERA A*

Carolan MC, Gill GK, Steele C. (2012): Women's experiences of factors that facilitate or inhibit gestational diabetes self-management. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 12:99 DOI:10.1186/1471-2393-12-99 ERA A*

Carolan M. (2012): Women's experiences of gestational diabetes self-management: A qualitative study. Midwifery. DOI: 10.1016/j.midw.2012.05.013. ERA A*

Carolan M, Barry M, Gamble M, Turner K, Mascareñas T. (2012): Experiences of pregnant women attending a lullaby programme in Limerick, Ireland: A qualitative study. Midwifery, 28 (3), pp. 321-328. ERA A*

View more of Professor Carolan's publications.

Conference presentations

2013: Factors that facilitate self-management processes for women with GDM.Poster presentation at the 7th International DIP (Diabetes in Pregnancy) Symposium - Diabetes, Hypertension, Metabolic Syndrome & Pregnancy, Florence, Italy.

2012: The dangers of older maternity. Paper (invited speaker) presented at Ausmed, Midwives: Laws and Skills conference Melbourne

2012: Gestational diabetes and the midwife's role Paper (invited speaker) presented at Ausmed, Midwives: Laws and Skills conference Melbourne

2011: Older maternal age and intervention in labour: A population based study comparing older and younger first-time mothers in Victoria, Australia. Paper presented at the 29th Triennial Congress of the International Confederation of Midwives, Midwives tackling the 'Big 5' globally, Durban, South Africa

2011: The good midwife: Commencing students' views. Paper presented at the ACMI Australian College of Midwives conference, A Midwifery Odyssey, Sydney.

Areas of expertise

  • cultural diversity
  • Gestational diabetes
  • High risk pregnancy
  • Midwifery
  • Qualitative methodology
  • Thematic analysis

Contact details

+61 (3) 9919 2585