The aim of the POPStar Study is to understand how pregnancy data can be used to predict future health outcomes for mothers and children. We know that growth and development during pregnancy has an important influence on health, but do not fully understand the relationship between pregnancy parameters and health outcomes in later life.

We have a unique opportunity with the mothers and children from the POP Study to advance our knowledge of how pregnancy can predict future health risks. We aim to find out what has happened to our POPs mums and babies from routinely collected information. We will follow up what happens to our mother-child pairs until the child turns 16, allowing us to determine the relationships between pregnancy data and subsequent health outcomes.

For the developing baby, the pregnancy environment is a key determinant of later health outcomes. It is increasingly accepted that the intrauterine environment has a lasting effect on many aspects of physiology and metabolism. Knowledge of how we can use data from pregnancy to predict the risk of future adverse health outcomes for individual children would allow early intervention for children at risk.

For mothers we know that pregnancy has potential to unmask underlying disease propensity by revealing subtle impairments in physiology and metabolism that are compensated for under normal circumstances. For example, women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy have a 7-fold greater risk of going on to develop type 2 diabetes later in life than women who were not diabetic during pregnancy. It is therefore now recommended in the UK NICE guidelines that women who have had gestational diabetes have yearly follow-up so that if diabetes develops it is detected early and treated. However, we know much less about how other types of pregnancy data can predict long term health outcomes in women. The ability to use other pregnancy information in similar ways would allow us to give more individualised health advice to help keep mothers healthy into the future.

The POPStar study aims to completely anonymously link information being already routinely collected to pregnancy outcomes to find out more about how we can predict the risks of experiencing disease. We will focus on a wide range of health outcomes for example high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or learning difficulties in both mothers and children later in life.

The POPStar Study is being run at the University Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Cambridge.

Study Principal Investigator: Professor Gordon Smith

The study sponsor is the University of Cambridge

The study is funded by the Cambridge Biomedical Research Campus (Women’s health and Paediatrics)

The study has received ethical approval from the Central Cambridge Research Ethics Committee (Ref 18-0036).

The data and privacy aspects of the study have also been approved by the Confidentiality Advisory Group (18CAG0024)