July 6, 2022

World-leading research programme born in Wakefield

Two midwives in uniform standing in a garden with mum and baby, smiling
Midwives Rachel Sharpe and Claire Dillon with mum Mary Rogers and the first BaBi Wakefield baby, Louie.

A world-leading research programme that aims to find out what influences the health and wellbeing of families has opened in the Wakefield District.  BaBi Wakefield research study logo

Born and Bred in Wakefield (BaBi Wakefield) is a study that links existing data across health, education, and social care to create a picture of families’ lives. Over time, this will help to shape local services, creating a healthier environment for families to enjoy.

With consent from pregnant women, routine data recorded by the services they access themselves or for their babies is joined together anonymously. This helps to create a bigger picture of local people’s health, for research purposes. By looking for patterns in the data, the research can give valuable insights into what works well and what can be made better, helping to improve local services for the future.

Routine recorded data includes lots of different things, such as blood pressure measurements during ante-natal appointments, or the details of baby’s height and weight recorded by health visitors.

One of the first local mums to sign up to be part of the study was Mary Rogers from Featherstone. Mary’s son, Louie, who was born at Pinderfields Hospital on Tuesday 10 May, is the first BaBi Wakefield baby.

Mary said: “I feel really proud and excited that Louie is the first baby recruited to BaBi Wakefield.”

Mary and baby Louie’s midwife, Claire Dillon, said:This exciting project will contribute to improving the health, care, and wellbeing of people across Wakefield District.

“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.

“The population of Wakefield is growing and so by doing the work now, we’re helping everyone in the long run. By the time the babies in this trial have their own children, we could be seeing the effects of this study.”

John Ashcroft, Director of Research at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “BaBi Wakefield is a fantastic opportunity which will help to develop and improve health services for local people for many years to come. We will focus on maternity services initially, following our first group of participants through pregnancy, birth and into childhood. This will give us invaluable insights into families lives over time which researchers will use to look for patterns and early indications of where improvements might be made to facilitate even better child and family health.”

Councillor Maureen Cummings, Chair of Wakefield District Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “It’s so important that every child born in Wakefield District has the best start in life, and BaBi Wakefield will help make that possible. I hope all our parents and new babies will become part of the study, as the more people join, the more we will know about the health and wellbeing of our children and how to improve it. If you’re expecting a baby, or know someone who is, please do talk to your midwife about signing up to BaBi Wakefield”.

The BaBi concept began in Bradford, where it is part of the world leading Born in Bradford research programme. The findings of the research have led to a number of local and international changes and improvements. For example, 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. Evidence from the research has also led to recommendations in international guidelines for lowering exposure to acrylamide, a chemical which can be formed when starchy foods are cooked or fried at very high temperatures (for example, crisps and chips). Acrylamide can cross the placenta, and exposure during pregnancy can lead to a lower birth weight.

More information about BaBi Wakefield is available on the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust website: BaBi Wakefield | Mid Yorks

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