Developing NHS guidelines for healthy birthweight
Our researcher at Queen Mary University of London, Dr Stamatina Iliodromiti, is undertaking the first ever large-scale study of the relationships between baby weight and health in both mothers and babies.
She is studying newly available data from 1.2 million pregnancies that spans 25 years.
Too high or too low birthweight is associated with many negative outcomes; it is linked to stillbirth, babies are more likely to die within the first year of life and have more hospital admissions. In later life, they are more likely to suffer from diabetes, stroke and heart disease and perform worse at school.
Impact on mothers
The mothers of these babies are also at an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
By establishing new thresholds for what is a healthy birthweight, this project will also provide the evidence to inform NHS clinical guidelines for doctors and midwives on the management of birth, when to deliver early to save the baby and will transform antenatal care in the future, ultimately helping us to prevent stillbirth and childhood disease.
Dr Iliodromiti said: “Currently, there is no agreement on how we define what is a small or large baby or whether current definitions can accurately predict a baby’s risk of death or disease or abnormal development.
“We will use unique information on over a million pregnancies to determine the optimal definitions for the extremes of birthweight based on the risk of death and serious short and long-term outcomes for both babies and mothers to guide future care. The proposed datasets have a wealth of data regarding maternal characteristics, perinatal and offspring wellbeing indicators. We will use a variety of statistical methods to determine the best way of predicting disease and death and hence being able to prevent this.”