Liverpool mum signs up to major city birth study to help create better future for generations of children
3 weeks ago
New mum Nina Powell has signed up to a major new study to ensure a better future for generations of Liverpool children.
Nina, 32, who has a five-month-old son Oliver, was the first person to agree to take part in C-GULL, Children Growing Up in Liverpool, which aims to track 10,000 first-born babies and their families from early in pregnancy through to childhood and beyond.
The first of its kind across the Liverpool City Region, it’s hoped the multi-million pound project will help researchers, clinicians and policymakers to understand more about complex health issues faced by families today.
And for Nina especially it means the chance to help her own son, or possibly his children, have a healthier childhood that’s not blighted by conditions caused by where they live.
“I read the information about C-GULL and why they are conducting the study and discovered that children in Liverpool at the moment, as in other areas of the UK, are more likely to have health problems like asthma and allergies, and that just seemed wrong and unfair,” says Nina who, like husband Simon, 34, is a healthcare worker.
“When you have children you never really think of the fact that where you live could influence their health in the future to that degree.
“I agree that something needs to be done, if it can, to change things – and the only way that can happen is to find out what’s causing it. It’s the only way to ensure an equal chance for children in Liverpool.”
She adds: “Every parent wants to do the best for their children, by investing time, money, and happiness. And this seemed like another way to invest in Oliver’s future and his children’s future, as well as that of others.”
Nina first found out about the study on a poster and went onto its website to find out more.
C-GULL is a partnership between the University of Liverpool, the Wellcome Trust, Liverpool Women’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, and Liverpool City Council; and in collaboration with the NIHR Clinical Research Network North West Coast.
Professor Louise Kenny, lead investigator, adds:
“C-GULL is an exciting opportunity to make a real impact on the health of future generations. By tracking families from pregnancy through childhood, we can gain a deeper understanding of the complex factors that shape health outcomes.”
Researchers will collect information on a baby’s biological, physical, and mental health, as well as the home environment and more.
So far for Nina that has meant two appointments during pregnancy, she said:
“I met the research midwives and filled in a questionnaire about my health and Simon’s, and our lifestyle.
“At the first appointment I was given to chance to donate samples – of blood,, urine and hair – but you can choose if you want to do that or not; and at the second appointment I filled in another questionnaire. It was easy and very straightforward.”
She goes on:
“When Oliver was born last August, I donated his placenta and umbilical cord – again that’s your choice – but I’m invested in something that I think is a really good idea so I am happy to do anything which will be of use.
“What’s lovely too, is that the research midwives you see in the specially created area at The Women’s are really dedicated to the study, and they’re really positive and enthusiastic, and supportive. As a new mum you have a lot of questions, and they’re happy to answer them … it gives you a lot more exposure to help, support and advice in pregnancy that, as a first time mum, is really useful.”
Using latest data collection methods the study will eventually give a comprehensive picture which can be used to inform policies and practices that promote the health and well-being of families in Liverpool and beyond.
“Everything went well for us, and Oliver was born safely and is a very healthy, happy chap; there are lots of laughs and smiles.
“Every week, if not every day, there’s something new.
“He is happy and healthy and that’s what every parent wishes for – and should hope to expect. This study will mean that’s more likely for many more families in the future.”
Already 200 families have agreed to take part but many more are being sought for the pioneering study, and Nina adds: “If you see the advert, read this, or hear about the study, consider taking part.
“It’s really easy, and takes up very little of your time, but it could have a massive impact on the future of your child and their children.”
Women are eligible to take part in the study if this is their first ongoing pregnancy, their pregnancy is in the first 12-16 weeks, they are aged 16 years and older and they have booked for their maternity care to be provided by Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
Parents who participate in C-GULL will receive additional health checks and support for themselves and their child during pregnancy and childhood.
Already 200 families have agreed to take part, but more are being sought for the pioneering study.