Can you help in a new study into pregnancy and early life?
Researchers at the Quadram Institute are looking to enrol pregnant mothers who are less than 22 weeks pregnant to take part in The PEARL Study (Pregnancy & Early Life) to understand how the transmission of beneficial microbes from mother to baby affects health.
We all have a community of trillions of bacteria and other beneficial microbes (for example viruses and fungi) in our gut, called the microbiota. These microbes play a critical role in protecting our health, right from the earliest moments of life. The microbiota helps us to break down and digest food and is critical in programming our immune system so that we can fight off infections.
Early life, including pregnancy and shortly after birth, are when microbes colonise the gut so this is a key stage.
The Quadram Institute and the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital are launching the PEARL Study to better 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.
Antibiotics, how the baby is delivered and diet can affect the establishment of this pioneer microbial community which can potentially increase the risk of developing conditions including immune defects, allergies, infections and chronic intestinal diseases.
To combat these conditions, information from the PEARL Study will be critical to develop safe new therapies to promote health and treat disease during pregnancy and early life.