Children who are born very preterm (before 32 weeks gestation) have an increased risk of cognitive impairment compared with their full term peers. However, it is unclear whether these risks remain as the child gets older.
New research from Alyssa Fitzpatrick and Jennifer Carter and Maria Quigley suggests that by the time the children reach age 11, they still have a higher risk of impaired working memory, but they do not have a higher risk of verbal delay, indicating a possible catch-up effect. The results are based on more than 11,000 children in the Millennium Cohort Study.
Evidence suggests hundreds of babies develop a serious bowel problem called necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) each year in the UK. Babies with NEC need urgent treatment, often involving emergency surgery. Sadly, many babies with NEC lose their lives and some of those who survive suffer long-term complications, such as persistent bowel problems, poor growth and learning difficulties. Researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Southampton, led by Associate Professor Ed Juszczak, are investigating how different milk feeds and food supplements affect babies’ chances of developing NEC, in the hope of better understanding why so many babies still develop this devastating condition.
Read more about this research, which is funded by Action Medical Research.
Since January 2016, midwives in midwifery units across the UK have been reporting data for the UK Midwifery Study System (UKMidSS) Severe Obesity Study, investigating outcomes in severely obese women admitted to midwifery units.
Jane will be talking about a mixed methods study of women’s experience of early labour, and also presenting a poster describing women’s worries about and experience of labour pain and associated outcomes.
Maggie will talk about women’s mental health in pregnancy and the postnatal period, and present a poster on how peer support during pregnancy and following childbirth affects a woman’s emotional wellbeing.
If you’re attending the conference do look out for their presentations and talk to them about their work!
Fathers are increasingly involved in the care of their babies and young children. In a study of over 6000 families NPEU researchers, Mary Kroll, Claire Carson, Maggie Redshaw and Maria Quigley investigated the relationship between fathers’ early involvement and later child behaviour. Their results suggest that the quality of parenting, rather than the division of care between parents, is important for child behavioural outcomes. Read the paper in PLOS ONE.
A study of the effects on the mother's mental health and wellbeing of holding their baby after stillbirth has been published in BMJ Open. The study, carried out by NPEU researchers Maggie Redshaw, Julie Hennegan and Jane Henderson, used data from Listening to Parents, a national survey of women who had a stillborn baby in England in 2012. The results suggest an adverse effect of holding their stillborn baby, with significant increases in anxiety and relationship difficulties with their family 9 months after the birth. There were important limitations to the study which must be born in mind when considering the results. Read the full paper.
National guidance and policy supports choice of birth setting for healthy women with straightforward pregnancies and the number of midwifery units is increasing. Most women, however, still give birth in consultant-led hospital obstetric units and there is uncertainty about how best to configure services. As part of the Birthplace Choices project Jennifer Hollowell and others have reviewed quantitative evidence on women's preferences for place of birth in order to better understand what attributes 'low risk' women prefer or prioritise when choosing their intended birth setting. The review, published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, found that much of the evidence came from poor quality studies carried out before 2000. Some service attributes, including local services, being looked after by a known midwife and being involved in decision-making, were almost universally valued by women. For other attributes, including the availability and involvement of medical staff, the availability of pain relief and a clinical or more 'homely' environment, women's views and preferences varied. Read the full paper.