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Professor Jenny Kurinczuk feted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Professor Jenny Kurinczuk has been named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists at the RCOG's January 2019 Members' Admissions Ceremony. The honorary fellowship was awarded in recognition of her contribution to maternal and perinatal health.

Jenny is Professor of Perinatal Epidemiology and Director of the NPEU since 2011. Her research looks into causes, consequences and surgical treatments for congenital anomalies, and surveillance of near-miss maternal morbidity.

Congratulations to Jenny on this prestigious award!

Increasing trend in breastfeeding initiation hides sociodemographic inequalities between groups of mothers

New research has concluded that changes in the sociodemographic characteristics of women who become mothers in Great Britain (GB), and not improvement in breastfeeding practices, may be responsible for the increasing trend in breastfeeding initiation in GB since the 1980s. This is one of few studies globally to examine the relationship between increasing breastfeeding trends and sociodemographic changes in the population that may have resulted from decades of social and health policy reforms. The study used data from the 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010 UK Infant Feeding Surveys, which included population-based samples of 7,000-12,000 women.

The findings showed that while the proportion of mothers who initiated breastfeeding increased from  64% in 1985 to 81% in 2010, there was also a considerable increase in the proportion of first-time mothers who were 30 or older, had higher education and higher-skilled occupations, were cohabiting with a partner, were of BME origin, and did not smoke in pregnancy. In each survey year, these same groups of mothers were significantly more likely to initiate breastfeeding than mothers who were younger, had lower education and lower-skilled occupations, were single, were of white ethnicity, and smoked during pregnancy. The findings suggest that more targeted interventions are necessary to support these latter groups of mothers with unmet needs. The study was conducted by Deon Simpson, and NPEU researchers Maria Quigley, Jenny Kurinczuk and Claire Carson, and can be read in full in PLoS ONE

40 years of the NPEU – Full Version

Following on from the recent 40th Anniversary trailer, used during the celebration day, please see the complete podcast, containing the full interviews of our past and present directors.

NPEU 40th Celebration Podcast

Direct link to MP4


Emeritus Professor Judith Lumley AM (1941 to 2018)

Director, National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit 1994-1995

It was with great sadness that we heard the news of the death of Professor Judith Lumley on 25th October 2018 in Victoria, Australia. Judith was a world renowned researcher who leaves a substantial legacy in the field of maternal and child health. Among her many great and lasting achievements she established and ran the Victorian Perinatal Data Collection Unit. This exemplified her early vision of the need for and importance of routine surveillance data and the role such data can play in conducting high quality research to improve health outcomes. 

In 1991 Judith established the Centre for the Study of Mothers’ and Children’s Health in Victoria, which was later renamed ‘The Judith Lumley Centre’ in recognition of her contribution to building a programme addressing issues of major public health importance for mothers, babies and families.

Judith was recruited as Director of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit in 1994. She spilt her time between Oxford and Victoria during the two years she was Director of the Unit (1994 to 1995) following which she returned to the Centre in Victoria, where she remained Director until her retirement in 2008.

Her lifetime achievements were recognised in 2006 when she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her contribution to public health and maternity care.

We understand that Judith died peacefully following a long illness. She will be greatly missed by everyone who worked with her and benefited from her gentle guidance and kind mentorship. Predeceased by her husband Peter, Judith is survived by her children, grandchildren and three sisters.   

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