The role that pre-conception life plays in shaping future health chances is increasingly recognised.
PREPARE, a programme of research and education in perinatal care run by Jill Shawe aims to improve outcomes for women planning pregnancy. This large programme of work ranges from preconception care for women with chronic health conditions (Maslin, Hopper) and infertile couples, sexual and reproductive healthcare for people experiencing homelessness (Paisi), men's preconception health knowledge and behaviour to research on how people use technologies when trying to conceive.
Care during pregnancy
Factors such as maternal obesity, excess gestational weight gain, stress and smoking in pregnancy present risks to the developing foetus.
Our research includes an evaluation of eHealth tools in supporting women who have experienced Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in the interconception and postpartum periods (Edwards, Shawe, Maslin, Andrade, Jones).
We have investigated care and support of expectant women with asthma (Williamson) and diabetes (James, Redfern), maternity high dependency care in obstetric units remote from tertiary referral units (James, Endacott) and organisational interventions to reduce caesarean section (Kent).
We are also involved in global research on maternal and child health, including interventions to reduce exposure to biomass smoke among pregnant women in Uganda (Callaghan) and to support neonatal life support in Cambodia (Westlake).
Care of children
Care of young people
It is at this stage of the life-course that some of the outcomes of early childhood adversity manifest.
We have produced evidence of a shift in childhood disadvantage and associated problems of low educational attainment and high rates of hospitalisation for self-harm, alcohol and substance use among young people from inner cities to Britain’s coastal areas (Asthana, Gibson).
We explore the role of education, school-based emotional learning and resilience building as modifiable risk factors for health inequalities (Asthana, Axford, Welbourne). Brennan investigates young people, technology and online behaviour (such as sexting and revenge pornography) and has advised the Technology Coalition of major tech companies on combatting online child sexual abuse.
We have explored metabolic impact of puberty and weight gain on child health (Pinkney) and pioneered the development of Apps and online resources for young people with diabetes (Pinkney, Jones). We also undertake important research supporting the psychosocial health of teenagers, such as those living with HIV (Hoard), living with cancer or other long-term health conditions such as endocrine conditions (Norman) and cleft lip and palate (Norman) or facing end of life (Pearce), or experiencing bereavement (Stedmon).
In social work Oliver Beer’s research interests include experiences of online microaggressions among LGBTQ+ youth and the longer-term impacts of parental substance use and incarceration on African American youth.
Prevention and early intervention to improve child wellbeing
Improving child psychosocial outcomes through evidence-based prevention and early intervention
The University of Plymouth Babylab
A research lab for the cognitive psychology of child development.
The Babylab was opened in 2006 in the School of Psychology, and is one of its most vibrant and productive research labs. It is run primarily by students.
Since its opening, the Babylab has attracted more than £1.5m in research grants, and has developed solid collaborations with Babylabs in prestigious universities, such as the University of Oxford and the University of Paris Descartes.
Community and Primary Care Research Group (CPCRG)
The Community and Primary Care Research Group (CPCRG) is intensively research active and has a strong proven track record of Health Services Research. Our research is conducted through the involvement of practitioners and the public, who are instrumental in helping to develop focused research questions and in designing projects.
NIHR ARC South West Peninsula (PenARC)
The National Institute of Health and Care Research Applied Research Collaboration (PenARC) for the South West Peninsula.