First PEARL baby born

28th November 2019

The first babies have been born to mothers participating in the PEARL Study. This landmark study at the Quadram Institute aims to understand how the transmission of beneficial microbes from mother to baby affects health.

Mothers less than 22 weeks pregnant have been enrolling into the study and Rebecca was one of the first to sign up. She has been providing samples regularly through her pregnancy. These are carried out by the mother at home, and everyone who enrolls is provided with a free freezer to help store the samples safely and conveniently.

“Everything is quick and simple, and everyone has been lovely, and helpful with queries” said Rebecca.

“When I saw the pages of instructions, I thought collection would be quite time consuming and fiddly, but with the first set done I realised how easy it was. PEARL provide a small freezer and collect samples from my home at a time arranged via text.”

Rebecca gave birth to a health baby at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in September.

“I gave my midwifes on delivery suite the birth sample pack and they were brilliant and collected all the samples they were able to and stored them for collection” said Rebecca.

Rebecca will continue to collect samples for 24 months and these, with the samples from the other mothers and babies taking part, will provide valuable data for the research team in the Quadram Institute, which is led by Dr Lindsay Hall.

They want to understand the importance of beneficial microbes in the development of the infant microbiota. This will help define microbial ‘signatures’ that are beneficial to health and lead to new therapies to promote health and prevent disease.

“We’re really grateful to all of the mums who have enrolled on the PEARL Study so far” said Lindsay. “The samples we receive help provide the critical evidence base necessary to develop safe new therapies for ensuring the establishment of a ‘healthy microbiome’ in early life. This would be a big step towards providing all babies with the best start in life.”

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