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3000th baby born in ground-breaking health and lifestyle research study

Published: 8 February 2007

Researchers in Southampton are celebrating the birth of the 3000th baby born in a unique project in the city.

William James Sharp was born at 12.51 pm on 3 February weighing in at 8.5 lbs. William’s mother Rachel Tapp is one of thousands of local women taking part in the Southampton Women’s Survey, the largest women’s health and lifestyle study of its kind in the world. The study aims to understand more about the dietary and lifestyle factors that affect the health of young women aged 20-34 and their children. Southampton was chosen as the best place for this study as in many respects it is representative of the whole country, and women in the city have been keen to take part.

The Southampton Women’s Survey (SWS) began in 1998. Since then, researchers based at the University of Southampton have interviewed over 12,000 women about their lifestyle and health and 3,000 of the women who have become pregnant after being interviewed have been followed by researchers through their pregnancies. Their babies are also being followed through infancy and childhood.

New mother Rachel Tapp said: "The Southampton Women’s Survey gave me a huge amount of support during my pregnancy. It was great to be part of it."

Dr Hazel Inskip, the Survey co-ordinator, said: "We are very grateful to Rachel and all the other women in the city who have helped us so enthusiastically by volunteering to take part in the SWS. Obviously the more babies we can monitor through infancy as part of the study, the higher the value of our research. We are therefore very keen to hear from any women who were interviewed for our Survey, however long ago that was, and who become pregnant. We would like those women to contact us as early on in their pregnancies as possible on our freephone number, 0800 783 4503."

Rachel Tapp has also been involved in an additional part of the Survey looking at how a pregnant woman’s metabolism of protein in her diet affects the size of her newborn baby. This phase of the study would be interested to hear from any woman who took part in the Southampton Women’s Survey and who is planning to become pregnant in the near future. Dr Sarah Duggleby, who is leading the research, said: "This study will provide us with vital information to help us understand what affects the body’s metabolism and the growth of a baby in the womb."

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