Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy are invited to take part in the BABY1000 study, exploring how our first 1000 days might influence our risk of developing obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in later life.
The BABY1000 study – Before, during And Beyond the baby Years; the influence of the first 1000 days – is an ambitious research project taking place at the University of Sydney’s multidisciplinary Charles Perkins Centre.
Researchers will explore the first 1000 days of life to determine whether and how we can intervene in early life to prevent conditions such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, to promote a healthier life for the next generation.
“Obesity is one of the most serious global health crises of the 21st century, and the greatest rise is among women of reproductive age,” said neonatologist Dr Adrienne Gordon, Project Leader of the study.
“At the time of conception, the health and lifestyle of the parents – including their diet, body weight, stress levels and whether or not they smoke – play an important role in the development of the fetus and in determining the future health of the child,” Dr Gordon, an NHMRC Early Career Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the University’s Sydney Medical School and the Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital, explained.
This study offers an invaluable opportunity for intergenerational prevention. A deeper understanding of how these parental factors impact on children and long-term health could lead to improved health for future generations.
Over the next 24 months, the research team aims to recruit 500 women and their partners for a large longitudinal pilot study.
Women who are less than 13 weeks pregnant or are planning a pregnancy are invited to apply to take part.
Participants will need to attend study visits at the Royal Prince Alfred clinic at the Charles Perkins Centre on the University’s Camperdown campus in Sydney – before, during and after pregnancy.
Throughout pregnancy and beyond, researchers will collect general information on lifestyle, nutrition, body composition, pregnancy weight gain and mental wellbeing. Additionally, a wide range of biological samples will be collected.
“We want to collect and analyse as much information as possible from the women, partners and infants enrolled in our study, including data before and in early pregnancy” said Dr Nathalie Kizirian, Project and Research Officer for the study.
Collections will be stored at the recently launched NSW Health Statewide Biobank, the largest storage bank for human biospecimens in the southern hemisphere.
The findings will contribute to a better understanding of how and why chronic diseases are transmitted through generations, and inform the innovative area of preconception clinical management as well as future interventional studies.
“The Royal Prince Alfred clinic at the Charles Perkins Centre offers participants a more intimate setting and a continuity of care and holistic approach from the research team on campus.
“Participants will also receive two extra free ultrasounds later in their pregnancy normally only available for high-risk pregnancies, and have the satisfaction of knowing they’ve contributed valuable information that will inform vital future antenatal research.”
The team is also establishing a large intervention trial, to follow the pilot study.
“We’re planning a randomised controlled trial of over 5000 women in multiple centres across NSW and ACT, to determine if weight loss before pregnancy improves pregnancy outcomes and infant health from birth to two years of age,” Dr Gordon said.
According to Dr Kizirian, this would be the largest preconception weight loss trial ever conducted.
“Ultimately we want to raise awareness that preconception health is more important than currently understood, and that intervening before pregnancy is key to improved outcomes for mother and baby.”
You can also follow @BABY1000study on Facebook and join the conversation on Twitter using #BABY1000.
The BABY1000 project tracks the progress of babies during their first 1000 days, but significantly, the tracking starts prior to conception. This makes it a rare study internationally, as it works to identify ways to ensure the best lifelong health outcomes for babies.