Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital is at the forefront of a study to determine the health of mothers and their babies during the pregnancy, and up to six weeks following the birth. It is the most comprehensive study of its kind, and draws on the expertise of paediatricians, psychologists and childhood researchers.
The study, identified as the Ontario Birth Study, will test up to 1,200 mothers who are tracking their own health through the duration of their pregnancy. Researchers are analyzing potential complications to a woman’s pregnancy including premature labour, growth problems with the fetus, and a condition known as pre-eclampsia, which includes high blood pressure and an abundance of protein in a woman’s urine. Researchers also plan to track the health of the newborn babies as they grow into adulthood, which will determine if there are any long-term effects on the health of children exposed to these potential conditions.
“There’s a lot of interest in understanding the impact of various exposures, whether it be environmental or otherwise on pregnancy,” says Dr Alan Bocking, chair of the study’s steering committee. “This study is really a platform to be able to allow clinicians and investigators from all disciplines to look at it together and combine information.”
Currently, the research team is recruiting subjects, and over 150 women have already volunteered to be part of the study. The women are typically between 12 and 14 weeks along in their pregnancy when they first join the study. They will be required to complete a number of surveys about their lifestyles, family medical history, and any medications they took before or during the pregnancy.
“We want to do this on an on-going basis and help to direct and inform the care women and children receive,” Bocking continues.
To take part, subjects must be at least 18 years of age. Mount Sinai and other partners encourage all interested mothers to gather more information by visiting: www.ontariobirthstudy.com.