A team of staff and students from NPEU will be participating in the Oxfordshire Science Festival on Saturday 17 June 2017, from 12-5pm. The team will showcase our exhibit, The Wonders of Early Human Life, which focuses on the Unit’s exciting research into the challenges surrounding pregnancy, childbirth and infant feeding. Through a series of fun games and engaging discussions, you will learn how we use research to minimise problems during pregnancy, explore the intricacies of breastfeeding and design clinical trials. If you attend the festival, do stop by our exhibit for some interactive, hands-on learning and loads of fun!
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Breastfeeding in Public Abstract to be Presented at the 8th Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood Conference
NPEU DPhil candidate Deon Simpson will be at the 8th Nutrition and Nurture in Infancy and Childhood Conference in Grange-over-Sands from 12-14 June 2017. On day one of the conference, Deon will present findings from her DPhil research on breastfeeding in public in Great Britain, based on analysis of data from the Infant Feeding Survey. If you attend the conference, come and say hello!
Associate Professor Ed Juszczak and Senior Statistician Louise Linsell will be at the 8th Europaediatrics Congress in Bucharest, Romania from 7-10 June 2017. On 8 June, Ed will give a talk entitled: Basic Steps in Clinical Trial Design and on 9 June, Louise will present the latest results from the EPICure study, Born at the Threshold of Viability: Impact on Cognitive Development into Adulthood. If you attend the conference, please come and say hello! Do also look out for two articles related to Louise’s work that focus on cognitive and behavioural trajectories in the EPICure cohort. These articles should be published soon.
The National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit is pleased and proud to announce the successful renewal of their Athena SWAN Silver Award.
Maria Quigley who leads the Athena SWAN team said, “We are delighted to receive our second silver award. We believe that this is a reflection of many good policies and practices that have been embedded in our Unit for many years, and which have been formalised and enhanced as part of the Athena SWAN process.”
Rachel Rowe who is the Deputy Lead said, “This renewal of our Athena SWAN Silver Award is a testament to the commitment of all our staff to the Athena SWAN principles, ensuring that the NPEU is an inclusive place to work where everyone’s contribution is recognised and valued, and where people are supported to achieve their potential."
Women with learning disability have equal rights to maternity care that meets their needs, but many have poor pregnancy and birth outcomes compared to other women in the UK.
NPEU researchers Reem Malouf, Jenny McLeish, Ron Gray and Maggie Redshaw, with Sara Ryan of Oxford University’s Department of Primary Care, carried out an in-depth qualitative study to explore the maternity experiences of nine mothers with learning disability.
The mothers were very conscious of feeling different from other mothers. Most were pleased with their maternity care and liked their midwives, but some had been denied opportunities to make informed choices, or encountered disrespectful staff attitudes. Their experiences of communicating with professionals were also mixed: some described midwives taking time to explain things that the mothers found confusing, while others had encountered midwives who gave the impression that they were too busy to communicate effectively. The mothers were aware that to succeed as parents they needed to have good support from family or professionals, and several who had been well supported were flourishing. Others described the stress of having their parenting ability formally assessed immediately after birth, and their distress and guilt when they were not allowed to care for their babies.
Read the research in full in the BMJ Open
In the UK, around 40% of new mothers report that their pregnancy was unplanned. A higher proportion of unplanned pregnancies occur among women in their 20s and 30s than among teenagers, and more often among women who are in a stable, cohabiting or married partnerships. There is limited research exploring the impact of unplanned motherhood on the subsequent wellbeing of partnered women, but new research from NPEU has recently been published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth.
The research, which was conducted by Katherine Barton, an MSc Global Health student at the University of Oxford, and NPEU researchers Claire Carson, Maria Quigley and Maggie Redshaw, analysed over 12,000 partnered women whose children are enrolled in the UK Millennium Cohort Study. They found that unplanned motherhood was associated with increased risk of psychological distress at 9 months postpartum, particularly among women who felt unhappy or ambivalent about their pregnancy at the start. They concluded that, while the quality of the partner relationship is an important factor in maternal wellbeing, neither relationship quality nor wider social support explained the observed association. Read the published research in full.
The SIFT protocol was published in the journal BMC Pediatrics on 28 January 2017.
The protocol explains the background, rationale, methods and design of the trial. SIFT compares two different speeds of milk feed increase, one 'faster' and one 'slower', both within rates currently used in United Kingdom neonatal units. The study aims to find out if either speed of milk feed increase gives better outcomes for the infants. Investigators will measure a variety of outcomes, such as survival without disability, infection, bowel problems, growth and long-term physical and mental development, as well as the impact on families and the National Health Service, including costs. It is led by Dr Jon Dorling in Nottingham and co-ordinated by the NPEU.
The published protocol can be found here: http://bmcpediatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12887-017-0794-z
The aim of this review was to investigate the existing evidence regarding specialist preterm clinics for women who are at risk of preterm birth. Reem Malouf and Maggie Redshaw found eleven studies which looked at the effect of the clinic with regards to preterm birth and other important outcomes.
The evidence from the five randomised controlled trials showed that there was no significant difference between care at a specialist clinic and standard care for most of the neonatal outcomes. However, these studies were conducted before 1990 and the intervention was limited to increasing the number of antenatal visits in addition to educating the women about signs and symptoms of preterm labour. In contrast, the five most recent cohort studies in which new tests are used such as the foetal Fibronectin screening test (fFN), showed some positive neonatal outcomes.
In this review we only found one qualitative study where women expressed their anxiety about being labelled as high-risk of preterm birth and being reassured about interventions and treatments received in the clinic. In this study, women reported that their partners were struggling to cope emotionally. Further clarification is necessary on the optimal referral and standardized management plan in the clinic.
You can access the article in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
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