New UCD Perinatal Research Centre Launched
15th March 2018
University College Dublin (UCD) today announced the launch of the new UCD Perinatal Research Centre based at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin.
The aim of the Centre, within the UCD School of Medicine, is to coordinate national and international collaborative research in maternal and fetal health, including diabetes and nutrition in pregnancy, to improve the long-term health of mothers and their infants.
Professor Fionnuala McAuliffe, Chair and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at UCD’s School of Medicine, is the Director of the new Centre. Professor McAuliffe is an internationally recognised expert in pregnancy, maternal and fetal health, diabetes and nutrition in pregnancy.
Among the research studies being carried out at the Centre is the Pregnancy Exercise and Nutrition Study with Smartphone Application Support (PEARS), which involves over 500 women.
Women with a BMI of greater than 25 kg/m2 have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes and a low glycaemic index (GI) diet in pregnancy has been shown to lower glucose intolerance.
The PEARS study was designed to assess the impact of a lifestyle intervention package, consisting of a low GI diet and an exercise programme, with support provided by a smart phone app, on the incidence of gestational diabetes in an overweight and obese pregnant population.
Professor Fionnuala McAuliffe said, “I am delighted to announce the launch of the UCD Perinatal Research Centre. The overall aim of our research activities is to enable women to have the healthiest pregnancies, and the healthiest babies, they can.”
She added, “The PEARS study is a great example of the work which will be carried out at the Centre and the findings of this study will be published shortly. The initial results have found that this intervention package reduced the incidence of babies born large, for gestational age, which is an extremely exciting finding. The novel addition of a specifically designed smart phone app holds considerable potential to alter maternal behaviour in a positive way.”
Pictured at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, Dublin is Professor Fionnuala McAuliffe, Chair and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at UCD’s School of Medicine, and Director of the UCD Perinatal Research Centre. (Photographer: Iain White)