The Mothers2Babies (M2B) Study is being conducted by Drs. Deborah Sloboda, Tina Moffat, Mary Barker, Luseadra McKerracher and their research team, based at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario.
As a part of the study, we asked pregnant women from Hamilton to fill out a simple questionnaire. The questionnaire gave us information about what pregnant women understand about nutrition and health during pregnancy and how these impact their children's health. We also asked women responding to the questionnaire to tell us what sort of educational resources, support networks and tools they relied on or would have liked to have had so that we can, in our future work, provide pregnant women and new parents with the community-based resources that they need.
Analysis of the results from the questionnaire are ongoing, but we're beginning to summarize some of the findings. So far, we know that there's a lot of variation in who responded to the questionnaire, with respondents coming from all of Hamilton's major postal codes and from all different walks of life.
Some of the respondents from Hamilton's most vulnerable neighbourhoods seem to be facing big challenges to buying and eating healthy foods and feeling well during pregnancy, with inability to afford prioritization of eating nutritious food being one of the biggest. These challenges seem to be exaggerated for women who are racialized or who are newcomers to Canada. Our survey results are also showing that women who have a deeper understanding of the long-term effects of pregnancy health on their children's health tend to eat better during pregnancy, even when facing big challenges. And, lastly, our survey indicates that pregnant women in Hamilton are very resilient, with respondents from the most vulnerable neighbourhoods having a sense of ability to meet life's challenges that matches and even surpasses the same sense of ability of respondents from the least vulnerable neighbourhoods.
The data show that this city and its pregnant women have tremendous capacity, so there are amazing opportunities to build on this capacity, and to work to support an even stronger, healthier next generation!