Preconception health – preventing disease before it occurs

Preconception health – preventing disease before it occurs

Even with the advances of modern medicine, the world is getting sicker – obesity, non-communicable diseases, infertility and pregnancy complications are on the rise. As a global community, we need to start preventing these diseases before they even occur – a life-course approach to health that starts in school and continues into older adulthood.

MothersBabies Literature Review by Dr Daniella Susic

MothersBabies Literature Review by Dr Daniella Susic

Dr Susic, or Dani as she prefers to be known, is a clinical research fellow in the field of obstetrics and a PhD candidate at the MRC. She has undertaken speciality training through the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG). Under the supervision of Dr Amanda Henry and Prof Emad El-Omar, she is working on the Microbiome Understanding in Maternity Study (MUMS) trying to establish if there are causal links or associations between the action and composition of microbiome during pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Dani has a 3 year old daughter Abigail with severe allergies, eczema and asthma.

What is Microbiota and the Microbiome?

What is Microbiota and the Microbiome?

Humans are host to an enormous invisible ecosystem of microbes that influence almost every system in the body. The most common microbes that live in or on our bodies are bacteria, archaea, viruses, protozoa and fungi. This intriguing community of microbes are collectively known as our microbiota.

Our microbiota contributes to over fifty percent of our cellular makeup and can influence a wide range of physiological functions including our mood, appetite and immune responses. The collective genetic material of the microbiota, our microbiome, is remarkably dynamic.

The MothersBabies Study

The MothersBabies Study

MothersBabies raised $189,000 at it’s inaugural Yuletide Party (link to picture gallery on the website) on 21 June 2018 at the State Library. After the most recent commitment of $1m from the Federal Government, we now need to raise a further $4m.

The MothersBabies Study is harnessing the emerging science of gut bug health to create a safe, personalised and proven therapy to reduce common, potentially avoidable, complications and diseases for pregnant women and their babies. These include preeclampsia, diabetes, premature birth, asthma, eczema, autism and allergies.

The Prime Minister commits $1M to the MothersBabies Study.

The Prime Minister commits $1M to the MothersBabies Study.

MothersBabies seeks to raise $5m specifically for the MothersBabies Study that will commence in early 2019 at the Microbiome Research Centre (the MRC) in Sydney.


Until last Friday the MRC had $13m committed from the Federal and State Governments, District Health and the UNSW - for the staffing an the highly specialised, world class labs needed for the MRC’s cutting edge research.

In the Media

In the Media

Within a few weeks of being born, a baby is host to a community of billions of bacteria, viruses and fungi — most of which are found in the gut — that can shape many aspects of health. How that community, or microbiota, assembles is a matter of debate: some researchers have begun to question the dogma that the womb is a sterile environment. Yet it’s clear that birth sets off a radical transformation of the infant gut.

Literature Review for MothersBabies

Literature Review for MothersBabies

Pregnancy is a period of complex, simultaneous physiological changes enabling the development of a healthy baby, including hormonal, metabolic, immunomodulatory, and cardiovascular adaptations. Unfortunately, pathophysiological pregnancy states are also becoming more common. Globally, 10% of women suffer from hypertension in pregnancy [1], and 1 in 7 pregnancies are affected by some form of glucose intolerance [2]. Mothers are older and more overweight prior to pregnancy, with disorders such as diabetes and hypertension, both pre-existing and developing during pregnancy, leading to poorer maternal and fetal outcomes [3, 4].