top of page

The Cairns Institute

Since 1st February 2021 Caroline de Costa has been an (adjunct) Professor of The Cairns Institute, on the Nguma-Bada Campus of James Cook University, Smithfield, Cairns. Here she supervises postgraduate students at both Master’s and Doctoral level and conducts and supervises research in  relation to the themes of the Institute, in particular Social and Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development.


JCU Institute by Woods bagot


Coming from a background of research over many years (more than 100 published peer-reviewed papers) in the area of obstetrics and gynaecology, always with an interest in improving the lives and reproductive health of women, Caroline feels very comfortable with her move to the Cairns Institute. She is currently supervising four PhD students for JCU, Menzies and ANU, and two students for the M.Med of the University of Papua-New Guinea, as well as several undergraduate medical student projects within the JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry.


Her current personal research is in gender equity and diversity in obstetric and gynaecological practice in Australia and New Zealand, and in abortion care and abortion law in Australia and Papua-New Guinea.

Her scholarly publications are listed below.


Peer-reviewed Journal Articles and Short Communications


Murphy JF, de Costa C. Cryotherapy for benign cervical conditions – a colposcopic study

Ir  Med Journal 1977;71:155-8

Murphy JF, Martin F, O’Brien D, de Costa C. Colposcopy in the management of patients with positive cervical cytology Ir J Med Science 1978;147:54-61

de Costa C. The vacuum extractor – a re-appraisal Ir J Med Science 1981;150:372-5

de Costa C. Congenital complete heart block diagnosed antenatally – a case report PNG Medical Journal, January 1982.


de Costa C, Griew AR. Effects of betel chewing on pregnancy outcome Aust J Obstet Gynaecolog, 1982; 22:22-6


de Costa C. Urinary ascites presenting as fetal dystocia Southeast Asian J Surg;1983;6:81-83


de Costa C. Adolescent pregnancy Med J Aust 1985; 142:490


de Costa C. Congenital abnormalities and consanguinity. Med J Aust 1986;144:721-22


Thye HM, de Costa C. Screening for Hepatitis B in antenatal patients Med J Aust1987;147:202


de Costa C. Pregnancy outcomes in Lebanese-born women in Western Sydney Med J Aust1988;149(9):457-60.


de Costa C, Jeremy R, Russell P. Alcoholic liver disease and consequent endometrial hyperplasia ANZJOG 1992; 32:179 –80.


Russell P, de Costa C, Yeoh G. Fetal glial allograft in the endometrium Pathology 1993; 25(3): 247-9.


de Costa C, McGee T. Laparovaginal procedures replacing abdominal hysterectomy ANZJOG 1995;35(4):470-71.


de Costa C, Child A. Pregnancy outcomes in urban aboriginal women Med J Aust 1996;164:523-6


de Costa C. Menorrhagia and intermenstrual bleeding. Modern Medicine of Australia1998:76-83


de Costa C. Specula-tions – A history of the vaginal speculum. Med J Aust  1998; 168:125-128


de Costa C. A “noble instrument”: The obstetric forceps. Med J Aust 1999; 170:78-80


de Costa C. Caesarean section: A matter of choice? Editorial. Med J Aust 1999; 170:572-3


de Costa C, Beaulieu P. A woman with anorexia who wishes to be pregnant Medicine Today 2000;11: 114-115


Goh J, Howat P, de Costa C. Oestrogen therapy in the management of vesico-vaginal fistula ANZJOG 2001;41:333-4.


de Costa C, Jenkins G. Consanguineous marriage and pregnancy outcomes in Western Sydney, 1999. Med J Aust 2001;175:443-4.


de Costa C. ‘Ript from the womb’: A short history of caesarean section. Med J Aust2001;174:97-100.


de Costa C. Consanguineous marriage and its relevance to obstetric practice Obs Gyn Survey 2002; 57(8) 530-6.


de Costa C. The contagiousness of childbed fever; a short history of puerperal sepsis. Med J Aust 2002; 177: 668-671.


de Costa C. St Anthony’s fire and living ligatures: a short history of ergometrine. Lancet2002;359:1768-70.


de Costa C. James Marion Sims – some speculations and a new position. Med J Aust2003;178(12):660-3.


de Costa C, Robson S. Viewpoint – throwing out the baby with the spa water? Med J Aust2004;181: 438-9.


de Costa C. Vaginal birth after classical Caesarean section  ANZJOG  2005; 45: 182-86.


de Costa C. Medical abortion for Australian women – it’s time Med J  Aust 2005; 183: 378-80.


Rimmer C, de Costa C. A retrospective review of self-reported alcohol intake among women attending for antenatal care in Far North Queensland.  ANZJOG 2006;46(3):229-33


Breeze C, de Costa C, Jagusch M. Do women in rural and remote areas need different guidelines for management of low-grade abnormalities found on cervical screening? Med J Aust 2006; 184(6):307-8


de Costa C. Early medical abortion in Australia: more common than statistics suggest? Med J Aust 2006;185(6):341.


de Costa C, Calcutt C. Antenatal care implications of population-based trends in Down syndrome birth rates. Med J Aust 2007;186(12):663


de Costa C, Russell D, de Costa N, Carrette M , McNamee H. Early medical abortion in Cairns, Queensland: July 2006 – April 2007.Med J Aust. 2007;187(3):171-3


Davis N, de Costa C. Primary dysmenorrhoea. O&G 2011; 13 (3): 36-37.


de Costa C, Miller F. Sarah Bernhardt’s ‘Doctor God’ – Jean-Samuel Pozzi 1846-1918  ANZJOG2007;47(5):352-6


de Costa C, Russell D, de Costa N, Carrette M, McNamee H. Introducing early medical abortion in Australia: there is a need to update abortion laws. Sex Health. 2007;4(4):223-6.


Coyne K, de Costa C, Heazlewood R, Newman H. Pregnancy characteristics of women giving birth to children with fetal alcohol syndrome in Far North  Queensland ANZJOG 2008; 48:240-47.


de Costa C, Howat P. Admitting term infants to neonatal intensive care units in Australia.Birth 2008;35:259.


de Costa C, Wenitong M. Could the Baby Bonus be a bonus for babies? Med J Aust 2009 Mar 2;190(5):242-3.


Arnold J, de Costa C, Howat P. Timing of transfer for pregnant women from Queensland Cape York communities to  Cairns for birthing Med J Aust 2009;190(10):594-6.


Mohoric-Stare D, de Costa C. Knowledge of emergency contraception amongst tertiary students in Far North Queensland ANZJOG 2009;49(3):307-11.


de Costa C. The King versus Aleck Bourne  Med J Aust 2009;191(4):230-1


Sanga K, de Costa C, Mola G. A review of maternal deaths at Goroka General Hospital, Papua-New Guinea 2005-2008 ANZJOG2010; 50 (1):21-4


de Costa C, Russell D, Carrette M. Views and practices of induced abortion of Australian Fellows and specialist trainees of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists responding to an online survey

Med J Aust 2010 ;193(1):13-16.


de Costa C. Medical abortion in rural Australia – editorial   Australian Rural Doctor May 2010.

Downing S, McNamee H, Penney D, Leamy J, de Costa C, Russell D. Three years on: a review of medical terminations of pregnancy performed in a sexual health service Sex Health 2010 Jun;7(2):212-5.


de Costa CM, Miller F. American resurrection and the 1788 New York doctors’ riot. Lancet 2011 377 (9762):292-3.


de Costa CM. Use of mifepristone for medical abortion in Australia, 2006-2009. Med J Aust 2011; 194(4): 206-7.

Jayaratnam S, de Costa C, Howat P. Developing an assessment tool for maternal morbidity ‘near-miss’ – a prospective study in a large Australian regional hospital ANZJOG 2011; 51 (5): 421-5.


de Costa CM. Out of the shadows – changes in women’s reproductive health. Med J Aust2011; 195(10): 620.


Phillips T, Eltherington J, de Costa C, Woods C. Knowledge of abortion law and provision of abortion services amongst tertiary services in far North Queensland. ANZJOG 2012; 52 (3): 299-301.


de Costa C. Medical abortion: the Australian experience. Expert Rev Obstet Gynecol 2012; 7 (1): 25-30


Bendall A, de Costa C, Woods C, Howat P. Vitamin D levels in pregnant women booking for antenatal care in Far North Queensland. ANZJOG 2012; 52 (4): 391-4.


Asa I, de Costa C, Mola G. A prospective survey of cases of complications of induced abortion presenting to Goroka Hospital, Papua New Guinea, 2011. ANZJOG 2012; 52(5):491-3.


de Costa C, Carrette M. Early medical abortion – available and safe. Med J Aust 2012; 197 (5): 257-8.


Brown J. Thompson M, Sinnya S, Jeffery A, de Costa C, Woods C, Howat P, Rauli A. Pre-incision antibiotic prophylaxis reduces the incidence of post-caesarean surgical site infection. J Hosp Infect 2013; 83 (1): 68-70.


de Costa C. Arthur Wilson Oration 2012: ‘Hi Lucille I’m Doctor Gold’ – the changing roles of women in obstetrics and gynaecology. ANZJOG 2012; 52 (6): 508-12.


de Costa C, Douglas H, Black K. Making it legal – abortion providers’ knowledge and use of abortion law in NSW and Queensland. ANZJOG 2013; 53 (2): 184-9.


Porrett L, Barkla S, Knights J, de Costa C, Harmen S. An exploration of the perceptions of male partners involved in the birthing experience at a regional Australian regional hospital.J Midwifery Womens Health 2013; 58 (1):92-7.


de Costa C, Rane A. Should Australian medical students deliver babies? Med J Aust 2013; 198 (6):306.


Douglas H, Black K, de Costa C. Manufacturing mental illness (and lawful abortion): doctors’ attitudes to abortion law and practice in New South Wales and Queensland. J Law Med 2013; 20(3): 560-76.


de Costa C, Permezel M, Farrell L, Coffey A, Rane A. Integrating parental leave into specialist training: experience of trainees and recently graduated RANZCOG Fellows. Med J Aust 2013; 199(5): 359-62.


Cheng A, de Costa C, McLean A, Woods C. Vitamin D concentrations in pregnant women with diabetes attending for antenatal care in Far North Queensland. ANZJOG 2014; 54 (3): 275-8.


Leung J, Pirovich R, de Costa C, Woods C.  Knowledge of contraceptive methods and services among tertiary students in Far North Queensland. ANZJOG 2014; 54 (4):386-9.


de Costa C. Antenatal care for asylum seeker women: is ‘good enough’ good enough? Med J Aust

2014; 210(5): 299-300.


de Costa C, Douglas H, Hamblin J, Ramsay P, Shircore M. Abortion law across Australia – a review of nine jurisdictions. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2015; 55(2): 105-11


Black KI, Douglas H, de Costa C. Women’s access to abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation for fetal chromosomal abnormalities: Views and experiences of doctors in NSW and Queensland. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2015; 55(2): 144-8


Robson S, Campbell B, Pell G, Wilson A, Tyson K, de Costa C, Permezel M, Woods C. Concordance of maternal and paternal decision-making and its effect on choice for vaginal birth after caesarean section. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2015; 55(3):257-61.


Dickinson J, de Costa C. Non-invasive prenatal testing: the new era in reproductive medicine. Med J Aust 2015;203(2):57-8.


de Costa C, Douglas H. Abortion law: it’s time for national consistency and decriminalisation. Med J Aust 2015; 203(9): 349-50.


Tanimia H, Jayaratnam S, Mola G, Amoa B, de Costa C. Near-misses at the Port Moresby General Hospital – a descriptive study. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2016;56 (2): 148-53.


JayaratnamS, Burton A, Connan K, de Costa C. Maternal ‘near miss’ at Royal Darwin Hospital: An analysis of severe maternal morbidity at an Australian regional tertiary maternity unit. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2016;56 (4): 381-6.


Hogan E, Woods C, Buttrose M, Abenthum L, Cheng HC, de Costa C. The changing birth suite experience for Australian medical students. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2016;56 (5):537-42.


Douglas H, de Costa CM.Time to repeal outdated abortion laws in New South Wales and Queensland. Med J Aust. 2016;205(8):353-354

de Costa C. Compensated surrogacy- what do Australians think? ANZJOG 2016; 56 (6):549-551


Robson SJ, de Costa CM. Thirty years of the World Health Organization’s target caesarean section rate: time to move on. Med J Aust. 2017; 206 (4):181-185.


de Costa C. Down syndrome screening in the 21st century – more inequitable than ever Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2017 Apr; 57(2):131-133.


Nugent R, de Costa C, Vangaveti V. Caesarean section risk in obese women at term: A retrospective cohort analysis. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 2017;57(4):440-445.


Robson SJ, de Costa CM. Assisted reproductive technologies : new guidance for women and doctors is welcome Med J Aust. 2017;207(3):111-112.


Gnanendran S, Porrett J, Woods C, Buttrose M, Jukka C, Hollins J, Robson S, de Costa C.A randomised controlled trial of consumption of dark chocolate in pregnancy to reduce pre-eclampsia: Difficulties in recruitment, allocation and adherence Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol.2018; 58(3): 358-61.


Robson SJ, de Costa C, Woods C, Ding P, Rane A. Maternal choice caesarean section versus planned vaginal birth in low risk primigravid women.  ANZJOG 2018; 58(4): 469-73.]


Barratt AL, McGeechan K, Black KI, Hamblin J, de Costa C. Knowledge of current abortion law and views on abortion

law reform: a community survey of NSW residents. Aust NZ J Public Health 2019; 43(1):88-93


Abdalla O, Woods C, de Costa C. A clinical audit of combined first trimester screening and non-invasive prenatal testing offered to pregnant women in a regional Australian hospital. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2019 59 (1) 157-160..


Theodore S, de Costa C, McLean S, Woods C. Vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women with diabetes in Far North Queensland. Aust J Rural Health 2018; 26(6): 451-52.


Cheung N, Coffey A, Woods C, de Costa C. Natural fertility, infertility and the role of medically assisted reproduction: the knowledge of amongst women of reproductive age in North Queensland. Aust and NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2019; 59(1): 140-46.


Cheng HC, de Costa C, Woods C. Medical students and midwives – how do they view each other?   Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2018; 58(5): 586-89.


de Costa CM, Black KI Russell DB. Medical abortion: it is time to lift restrictions. Med J Aust2019; 211(9): 428-428.


Paltridge M, Traves A, de Costa C, McDermott R. Low prevalence of strongyloidiasis in Far North Queensland pregnant women. Aust J Rural Health 2019; 27(5): 438-9.


Abbot S, Bossingham D, Proudman S,  de Costa C, Ho-Huynh A. Risk factors for the development of systemic sclerosis: a systematic review of the literature. Rheumatol Adv Pract 2018 Oct 11:2(2):rky041. Doi:10.1093/rap/rky041. eCollection 2018.


Cheng HC, Black K, Woods C, de Costa C. Views and practices of induced abortion among Australian Fellows and trainees of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: a second study.  Aust

NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2019 Jul 21. doi: 10.1111/ajo.13038 (Epub ahead of print)


Abbot S, McWilliams L, Spargo L, de Costa C, Ur- Proudman S, Bossingham D. Scleroderma in Cairns: an epidemiological study. Intern Med J. 2019; Jun3. doi: 10.1111/imj.14376. (Epub ahead of print).


Angstmann M, Woods C, de Costa C. Gender equity in obstetrics and gynaecology – where are we heading?   Aust N Z


J Obstet Gynaecol. 2019;59(2):177-180.


de Costa CM, Black KI, Russell DB. Medical abortion: it is time to lift restrictions. 2019  Med J Aust; 210(6):548-9

Sex and Gender Sensitive Research Call to Action Group – Wainer Z, Carcel C, Hickey M, de Costa C et al.  Sex and gender in health research: updating policy to reflect evidence. Med J Aust 2020; 212(2): 57-62.


Jayaratnam S, Jacob-Rodgers S, de Costa C. Characteristics and preventability of obstetric intensive care unit admissions in Far North Queensland. Aust J Obstet Gynaecol. 2020; 60(6): 871-76


Mola GL, de Costa C. Cervical cancer – the view from Australia’s northern neighbour; Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2020; 60(2)

de Costa CM, Black KI. Abortion care in the 21 st century. Med J Aust 2021 Oct 18; 215(8):349-50. 

Kopunye F, Mola G, Woods C, de Costa C. Induced abortion in Papua-New Guinea: Experience and opinions of health professionals. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2021; 61(6): 961-68.  

Anderson K, Romero R, Odibo A, de Costa C  et al.   Quality criteria for randomized controlled studies : obstetrical journal guidelines. Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM 2021 May 3 (3): 100334 doi: 10.1016/ajogmf.2021. 100334 

Cheng HC, de Costa C. Abortion education in Australian medical schools. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2021; 61(5): 793-97. 


Abdalla O, Black K, Bateson D, Woods C, de Costa C. Clinical experience of trainees of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologistsin insertion of long-acting reversible contraceptives. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2021; 61(3): 463-68 

de Costa CM. The end of an era for the red journal. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2022; 62(6):811-12. 

Jayaratnam S, Franklin R, de Costa C. A scoping review of maternal near-miss in Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and the South Pacific region: How, what, why and where to?; Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2022; 62(2): 198-213. 

de Costa CM. Feticide and late termination of pregnancy: an essential component of reproductive health care. Med J Aust 2022; 217 (8):400-401. 


Desai A, Maier B, James-McAlpine J, Prentice D, de Costa C. Views and practice of abortion among Queensland Midwives and sexual health nurses. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2022; 62(2) 219-225. 


Win Kyaw M, Cheng HC, Obermair H, Woods C, Perry C, de Costa C. Australian medical students’and junior doctors’perceptions of gender discrepancies in obstetrics and gynaecology. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2022; Nov 5 doi. 10.1111/ajo 13617 


Berghella V, Aviram A, Chescheir N, de Costa C et al. Improving trustworthiness in research in women’s health: a collective effort by OBGYN editors.  Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM 2023; Sep 5 (9): 10185: doi: 10,1016. 


Nugent R, Wee A, Kearney L, de Costa C. The effectiveness of continuous positive airway pressure for treating obstructive sleep apnoea in pregnancy: a systematic review. Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 2023; 63(3): 290-300

bottom of page