Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS)

21 March 2018: Parents/Mothers and Children

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1.30pm – RaISe – Welcome and Opening Remarks 

Dr Mark McGovern (QUB), Dr Giampiero Marra (University College London), Dr Rosalba Radice (University of London) and Dr Slawa Rokicki (University College Dublin) – Breastfeeding Promotion as an Economic Investment

1.45pm –  Not only are rates of breastfeeding low in Northern Ireland compared to the rest of the UK, but there are substantial inequalities with mothers living in the least deprived wards twice as likely to breastfeed as those living in the most deprived wards. Previous evidence demonstrates that children who are breastfed are healthier and have better educational outcomes, however it is important to assess whether these benefits persist into adulthood. This presentation demonstrates the impact of being breastfed as a child on adult economic and cognitive outcomes. Using data from the National Child Development Study (NCDS), a nationally representative sample of British infants born in one week in 1958, it shows that cohort members who were breastfed for a month or more (compared to not being breastfed) score substantially higher on memory tests at age 50, and their household income is 8 percentage points higher: therefore, differential rates of breastfeeding by parental socioeconomic status perpetuates intergenerational transmission of disadvantage. The presentation discusses how increasing rates of breastfeeding in Northern Ireland provides a low-cost means of investing in the futures of mothers and children and improving inequalities, and illustrates why breastfeeding promotion strategies are likely to have substantial economic

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Mr Iain McGowan (QUB), Dr Lucy Thompson and Prof Phil Wilson (University of Aberdeen) – Mellow Parenting: Caring for vulnerable mothers

2.05pm –  Pregnancy and childbirth are traditionally recognised as life events that are to be cherished and celebrated. However, recent official reports of deaths by suicide, including a recent report of the Confidential Enquiry on Maternal and Child Health have raised awareness of the potential dangers of mental health problems to mothers during pregnancy and in the first year after giving birth. The long-term impact of maternal ill-health has negative impacts on the emotional, social, educational and physical development of the child. A number of programmes are in existence to support mothers, however these have been criticised for being too expensive, too narrow in focus and not effective. Mellow Parenting, as an intervention, has been delivered in both the Southern & South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust. The Public Health Agency has funded these programmes. This presentation focuses on the role that the Mellow Parenting intervention has on the emotional and mental well-being of vulnerable mothers. To contextualise, it draws on data from a recent systematic review, highlighting the findings from local evaluations of the programme. The presentation aims to help inform social, health, mental health and other polices that are relevant to mental health in this group of

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Prof Marlene Sinclair (Ulster) – Harnessing Modern Technology to Inform Policy on the Appropriate Use of Technology in Childbirth

2.25pm –  Technological interventions in childbirth such as ultrasonography for fetal assessment, prostin for induction of labour, cardio tocography for fetal monitoring and epidural anaesthesia for pain relief are older ‘”Z” generation technologies that have been superseded by the new personalised medicine platforms offering services such as: genetic profiling, epigenetics, personalised medicine, 4D scanning and easy access to a mushrooming online market of cheap, easily accessed, hand held devices and Apps. Online purchasing is the new ‘buzzy behaviour’ for pregnant women who are increasing their purchasing behaviour in an Internet where suppliers are not regulated for pregnancy safety standards. Visioning the future for the new alpha generation requires a focus on issues of safety, monitoring, regulation and evaluation of the impact of new technologies. The process requires multiple layers of various data obtained from key players in maternity care, including mothers, partners, professionals and various external agents. This presentation highlights how technology itself can be harnessed to assist in this process. It outlines how modern technology could be used to engage the public in debate about developing appropriate policies for effective use of technology in childbirth.

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2.45pm – Discussion 
3.15pm – RaISe – Closing Remarks 
3.20pm – Networking and Refreshments