Maternal and Early
Growth and Development Study
Growth Study is open to all women in early pregnancy who intend to
deliver at the Rosie Maternity Hospital, Cambridge.
Purpose of the Study
We are studying a group of mums and their babies to find out whether
specific environmental and inherited factors (i.e. "genes") are
important in regulating the growth and development of babies during
pregnancy and in the first couple of years of life. In recent years it
has been shown that the size of a baby at birth and the amount of
growth, in terms of weight and length, occurring in the first couple of
years may be important in predicting whether we develop certain health
problems in later adult life, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and
heart disease. Furthermore, it seems that more boys are being born with
disorders of their genitals (eg. undescended testicles), although
overall this is still a very rare occurrence. These effects could be
explained by subtle changes occurring in the environment a baby is
exposed to whilst in the womb, particularly to levels of glucose and to
certain hormones. These changes may be occurring because of our
increased exposure to certain hormone-like substances present in our
surrounding environment, or possibly they may be due to the inheritance
of certain genes which are known to regulate glucose and hormone
levels. Genes are the coded messages in our cells that are made up from
DNA. They tell the growing body how to develop and are sometimes
important in determining whether we develop certain illnesses or not.
will happen if I take part in the study?
During the pregnancy you will be asked to complete a questionnaire
about your general health and life style factors. You will receive
assistance from one of our research nurses with this. Blood samples
will also be taken from you during the pregnancy. The first ones can be
taken by your practice nurse, 1 to 2 weeks after booking, and the
second ones will coincide with the glucose tolerance test at 28 weeks.
After the birth of your baby, and just after the cord has been cut, we
will take a sample of blood from the umbilical cord (from the end which
is not attached to the baby!) as well as a piece of the placenta. For
those mums who are breast-feeding we may also invite them to collect
some small samples of their breast milk during the first 3 months after
the birth. We will also ask you to complete another health
questionnaire at this time. For your baby our study will involve
performing a general examination including head circumference, weight,
height, skinfold measurements, and lower leg measurements. Baby boys
will be checked in particular to make sure that there are no signs of
undescended testicles. This examination will be then repeated at 3, 12,
18 and 24 months of age. At 3 months we will also take a small sample
of blood (less than a teaspoonful in amount) from your baby. We can do
this from a small vein form the back of baby's hand using a standard
"butterfly" needle. At the 12, 18 and 24 month examinations we will
take a blood sample by doing a heel prick. The samples (blood, placenta
and breast milk) collected from you and your baby will be analysed to
measure levels of certain hormones and hormone-like substances that may
have come from the environment. At 1 and 2 year checks you will be
asked to complete a detailed food diary, this will add to the
information obtained from our examinations of your baby. MRC
Human Nutrition Research
will be collecting and
analysing the food diaries.
The arrangements for following up your child can be quite flexible by
being linked up with any outpatients appointments that you may have. We
can also offer help with travel costs if needed.
One of the blood specimens from you and your child will also be used to
analyse the DNA (that is the substance in all the cells of our bodies
which determine colour of hair, colour of eyes and other
characteristics). This will be looked to identify common patterns in
certain genes that are felt to be important in the regulation of
hormone and glucose levels in pregnant women and children. If possible
we would also like to get DNA samples from the child's father and from
your parents. It is now becoming increasingly evident that it is not
only the genes that we inherit form our parents but also in some cases
whether we inherit them from our fathers or mothers which determine
their influence on factors such as blood sugar or size at birth. A
letter of invitation will be sent out for the child's father and your
parents and we would be grateful if you could pass these on.
What are the benefits of taking part in this study?
There will be no direct benefits to either you or child from
participating in this study, although the information obtained will
hopefully contribute to a better understanding of factors that regulate
human health and disease.
and access to data
All information about you and your child will be strictly confidential
and will not be identified in any documents related to the
is involved in running the Cambridge Baby
a list of the team involved in running the study:
Nurses: Suzanne Smith, Amie Wardell, Karen Forbes, Elaine Marriott.
Epidemiology Unit Field Team: Ema de Lucia
Rolfe, Laura Watson, Chris May-Hall (web site).
Sample Handling and Databases: Mark
Wilson, Rachel Seear, Angie Watts.
Investigators: Professor Ieuan Hughes, Professor David
Dunger, Dr. Carlo Acerini, Dr. Ken Ong.
The project has
been generously funded by the European
Union Framework 5,
the Medical Research Council, Mothercare
Foundation, the World Cancer Research Fund and the Evelyn Trust, and
support has been instrumental in the project's success so far.
Growth Study Newsletters &
Arising From The Study
CL et al., Incidence & Natural History of Cryptorchidism from
Birth to 2 years - a prospective, longitudinal cohort study. Horm. Res.
CL & Hughes IA, Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: a new and
emerging public health trend? Arch. Dis. Child. 2006
KK & Loos RJ, Rapid infancy Weight Gain And Subsequent Obesity:
systematic reviews & hopeful suggestions. Acta Paediatr. 2006
KK et al., Pregnancy insulin, glucose and BMI contribute to birth
outcomes in non-diabetic mothers. Diabetes Care 2008
KK et al., Insulin-like growth factor I concentrations in infancy
predict differential gains in body length and adiposity: the Cambridge
Baby Growth Study. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2009
CA et al., The descriptive epidemiology of congenital and acquired
cryptorchidism in a UK infant cohort. Arch. Dis. Child. 2009
A et al., Anogenital
Distance from Birth to
Two Years: a Population Study. Environ.
Health Perspec. 2009
A et al., Mothers' experiences of bottle feeding: a systematic review
of qualitative and quantitative studies. Arch. Dis. Child
CJ et al., Maternally
transmitted foetal H19 variants and associations with birth weight.
Human Genetics 2011
CJ et al., Associations between paternally transmitted fetal IGF2
variants and maternal circulating glucose concentrations in pregnancy.
open these files you may first need to download Adobe Reader, available
here for free:
Celebratory Meeting to Mark the Tenth Anniversary of the Cambridge Baby Growth Study
On Saturday May 7th 2011 we held a meeting/children's party to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Cambridge Baby Growth Study, where the following presentations were given. Click on the relevant link to download
the presentations in Microsoft Powerpoint or Adobe PDF formats.
- Presentation 1: "Welcome"
and Chair by Professor Ieuan Hughes (powerpoint,
- Presentation 2: "Those
Elusive Testes!" by Dr Carlo Acerini (powerpoint,
- Presentation 3: "Mother's
Glucose Levels in Pregnancy - What Do They Mean?" by Professor David
- Presentation 4:
"Understanding Infant Growth and Weight Gain" by Dr Ken Ong (powerpoint,
- Presentation 5: "The Future"
by Dr Carlo Acerini (powerpoint,
From The Celebratory Meeting
Calamity the Clown
with the children
The Baby Growth Study team
The Baby Growth Study birthday cake
Staff from Mothercare, Cambridge
Professor Ieuan Hughes,
Ian Peaccok (Mothercare Group Foundation),
Terry Ndee (CUDOS)
Ian Peacock (Mothercare Group Foundation)
with Baby Growth Study nurses
we receive funding from a number of
organisations, including the Mothercare Group Foundation. We recently
Mothercare to join us for a coffee morning to meet some of you and to
about Cambridge Baby Growth Study. Held on Saturday 13th
the Weston Centre at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, some of our
families came along
and enjoyed a morning of fun and laughter. The children were
entertained by a
magician and balloon modeller, and received goody bags courtesy of the
Mothercare representatives: a big thank you to Sue Shaw (Area Manager
stores from Milton Keynes to Basildon), Penny Airjoub (Cambridge Store
and Dan Leuty (Assistant Store Manager at Basildon).
Thursday 22nd June 2006:
Cambridge study initiated to investigate the causes of genital defects
in baby boys has reached an important watershed with the 1000th child
Fawcett was the 1000th baby, born on 29 April 2006 weighing
eight pounds and half an ounce (3.64kg).
Cambridge Baby Growth Study examines the factors which affect the
size and weight of boys and girls in early development. Size in infancy
can help predict tendencies towards diabetes, high blood pressure and
heart disease in adulthood. It is hoped that the data from this study
may help in the future for better ante-natal care and the impact of
infant nutrition on adult health.
a pleasure to be involved in this research," said Mrs Fawcett,
Joshua's mother. "I realise how important advances are to improving
medical care for everybody in the future."
The Cambridge Baby Growth Study started as
part of a European wide
project to study the impact of our environment on reproductive
development in boys. Occurrence of birth defects in boys has seen a
significant increase in the last ten years, typically with undescended
testes or hypospadias (the urinary tract opening on the side of the
penis). Environmental factors have been thought to be the cause of
this, specifically the mothers diet, but this study is also looking
into the genetic causes of infant development.
Fawcett, with her baby Joshua, being presented with a bottle of bubbly
Ieuan Hughes, Head of the Department of Paediatrics.
attending (left to right): Dr. Ken Ong, Elaine Marriott, Anne-Marie
Wardell, Dr. Carlo Acerini, Professor Ieuan Hughes, Mrs. Fawcett with
Joshua, Suzanne Smith, Petra Tucker, Fiona King, Ema de Lucia.
Baby Growth Study Team
University Department of Paediatrics
Box 116, Addenbrooke's Hospital
Cambridge CB2 0QQ
Tel.: +44 (0)1223 336888
Fax.: +44 (0)1223 336996
email to the Baby Growth Study team