Healthy mothers, healthy babies

These public lectures explore some of the effects of pregnancy complications and preterm birth, as well as interventions that could improve a baby’s long-term health.

Brain health in the baby born early

Distinguished visitor Professor Steven Miller from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, explains why the everyday experiences a premature baby has in a NICU are so critical to longer-term brain development.

Sildenafil (Viagra) – a first ever therapy for fetal growth restriction?

Associate Professor Katie Groom

Learn more about how the main ingredient in Viagra may work as a therapy for babies that are not growing at the normal rate in the womb.

Professor Groom discusses the potential of sildenafil as an in-utero treatment for fetal growth restriction. She also talks about the STRIDER NZ-Aus trial that has been testing this.

In this presentation she summarises the clinical problem, explains how and why sildenafil may work, shows the scientific evidence to support the idea, and demonstrates how she and the team ran the trial with a brief overview of the results.

Period pain to pregnancy weight gain: what’s going on in the female body?

Dr Anna Ponnampalam, PhD candidate Jasmine Plows, Dr Clare Reynolds, Dr Shikha Pundir 

Four women researchers explain what we know about the biology of being female. 

In conjunction with the Royal Society Te Apārangi, the researchers look at what’s going on in the female body. From the problems of period pain, to what to eat during pregnancy, to the discovery that breastfeeding may not be easy, they address issues that affect the vast majority of women in some way and the interventions that could make a difference.

How should we feed preterm babies for long-term health?

PhD candidate Barbara Cormack

Barbara Cormack examines the connection between low birthweight babies, nutrition and long-term development.   

Around two million extremely low birthweight babies are born each year and each one has a high risk of developmental problems, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Almost all these babies grow slowly in the first month, when it should instead be a time for rapid development and brain growth.

In this ten-minute presentation, Barbara Cormack explains how nutrition affects the growth and development of preterm babies in the long-term. She also looks at why a higher protein intake in the first five days after birth could improve a child’s growth, body composition and neurodevelopmental outcome at two years of age.

What factors affect stress hormones in breast milk?

PhD student Shikha Pundir 

Shikha Pundir is exploring the mysteries of human breast milk.

She is investigating the impact of different environmental, social and biological factors on stress hormones in human milk.

In this fascinating presentation she explains which factors have the biggest influence in the composition of milk and how this could affect the health of breastfed babies.

How can we improve health outcomes for vulnerable babies?

Distinguished Professor Jane Harding 

Learn about how research at the Liggins Institute is changing the way mothers and babies are being cared for around the world.

Professor Harding is a specialist in fetal and neonatal care and her research focuses on the factors that regulate growth before and after birth. She also looks at the long-term consequences of treatments given at birth.

The treatment of low blood sugars in newborn babies is of particular interest to her.