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Pregnant women in Harrogate invited to sign up for research programme

Harrogate District Foundation Trust's Maternity team, Georgina Fogarty and son Freddie.

Pregnant women in the Harrogate district are being invited to join an important research programme which aims to find out what influences the health and wellbeing of families.

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust (HDFT) has become the latest NHS Trust to join Born and Bred in (BaBi) – a network of local birth cohort studies that work together to link existing data across health, education, and social care to create a picture of families’ lives over time.

The data will highlight any inequalities in our region and help to shape local services, creating a healthier and happier environment for families.

After gaining the consent of mothers to be, routine health data recorded by the health services they access themselves or for their child, is joined together anonymously.

This allows health researchers to consider data from a larger number of participants, helping them to spot patterns and create a bigger picture of the challenges faced within our district.

It will give valuable insights into what works well and what can be made better, helping to improve local services for the future.

The BaBi concept began in Bradford, where it is part of the world-leading Born in Bradford research programme.

The network now consists of 11 trusts (Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield, Doncaster, East London, Nottingham, Warwick, Tameside, Hull, York & Scarborough, and Harrogate).

Women will be invited to take part in the study during pregnancy by their midwife.

If they wish to participate, health researchers then link together routinely collected data from parent and child, such as such as blood pressure measurements during ante-natal appointments, or the details of baby’s height and weight recorded by health visitors, to see how health, care and services could be improved.

Research may identify relationships between things that happen in pregnancy and a child’s future health, or highlight if childhood conditions such as asthma, are more prevalent in one particular area of the district.

One of the first local mums to sign up to be part of the BaBi Harrogate study was Georgina Fogarty, whose son, Freddie, was the first BaBi Harrogate baby.

Georgina said:

“Babi Harrogate is a great research project, providing helpful data that will help us to learn more about the health and care of mothers and babies living in the district.”

Georgina and baby Freddie’s midwife, Susan Wallace, said:

“This exciting project will contribute to improving the health, care and wellbeing of families across Harrogate district. Last year, over 1,700 babies were born in the Harrogate district, so there are a lot of mother’s who could participate.

"It’s really easy to sign up and only takes two minutes to go through the form with your midwife during one of your routine appointments.

“Our population is constantly growing, and there are lots of new houses being built across the area. By doing this work now, we’re helping everyone in the long run.

“By the time the babies in this research have their own children, we will be seeing the positive effects of this study.”

Leanne Likaj, Associate Director of Midwifery at HDFT said:

“We are delighted to launch the BaBi research project in Harrogate following on from its success in other maternity units across the region.

“We are passionate about babies having the best start in life and collecting BaBi data will be a great help.

“Lots of organisations, such as the NHS, regularly collect data about the services they provide to mothers and their children. As a child grows, education organisations keep information to help them to provide services for children in schools.

"All of this information is collected electronically and stored separately on different systems.

"BaBi helps to bring that data together to enable research and service planning. This is a really exciting development and we are looking forward to seeing the impact of joining this information together to improve the health of children and families in the future.

“Anyone who is currently receiving care from our Harrogate maternity service and is interested in taking part should speak to their midwife about how to enrol.”

Michelle Platton, Research and Innovation Manager at HDFT said:

“Since BaBi’s launch in Bradford in 2019, the findings of the research have led to a number of local and international changes and improvements.

"For example, as a result of the research on the link between air pollution and ill-health, Bradford Council has cleaned up the buses that pollute the air the most.

"This research can lead to positive change for everyone and we look forward to seeing the benefits it will bring to our community.

“If you are currently pregnant, you can speak to your midwife at your next appointment to become a participant in this exciting project.”

More information about BaBi Harrogate is available on the BaBi Network website: https://www.babinetwork.co.uk/babi-sites/babi-harrogate

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