By: 8 August 2023
1,936 Leeds mums and babies take part in first year of the Born and Bred in Leeds research study

The Born and Bred in (BaBi) Leeds team are celebrating their first year of recruiting into this ground-breaking research study.

Since launching in July 2022, the team from Leeds Teaching Hospitals have helped 1,936 mothers and their babies from across the city to participate in this nationwide research project. 

BaBi is a network of researchers based in different cities across the country who are working together to link existing data across health, education, and social care to create a picture of families’ lives over time within each setting. This means that, with consent from mums-to-be, routine data recorded by the services they access themselves or for their babies is joined together anonymously.  

This process will help to create a bigger, better picture of local people’s health, for research purposes. By looking for patterns in the data, research can give valuable insights into what works well and what can be made better, helping us to improve our public services in the future. 

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

Researchers will use this data to help explore questions and understand relationships between things like why children in some areas are more likely to have health conditions like asthma or diabetes, or how many mums in our area experience postnatal depression. 

Holly, who gave birth to baby Jack 4 months ago, explains: “Taking part in the BaBi Leeds study was really easy. My midwife explained how the data about me and my baby would be used and that it would all be anonymous. When I said that I wanted to take part, she just marked it in my notes. It’s really fab to know that information collected about Jack and me will be included in the research and will help other families in the future”. 

Dr Nigel Simpson, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: “I’m delighted that so many people in Leeds have chosen to be part of the BaBi Leeds research study. This important national programme will support child health services and will contribute to transforming care for families and future generations in the years to come.” 

In total the BaBi network has had more than 21,000 mothers participate across its sites in England. In addition to Leeds, the study is taking place in Bradford, Wakefield, Doncaster and East London, with four new areas in the UK preparing to launch soon.