Erasmus MC Press Release Rotterdam, 12 February 2019
Looking to get pregnant? Contribute to a healthier generation of children
Erasmus MC seeks more parents and prospective parents for a population study and starts a recruitment campaign
Starting this week, people in Rotterdam can expect a leaflet in their letterbox asking them to sign up for the Generation R Next population study if they wish to have children. In addition, posters with the same message will be displayed throughout the city, in places like bus shelters. More than 1,500 future parents are already participating in the study, and 500 babies have already been born. However, Erasmus MC is looking for more parents who would like to help improve the growth, development, and health of future children.

“We hope that people in Rotterdam will help us share the leaflets with people who they think may be interested”, says Jolien Steenweg-De Graaff, on behalf of the project. “What is unique about this study is that we are interested in contacting women before they are even pregnant. Generation R Next studies the growth and development of a new generation of Rotterdam children and starts with future parents, preferably before they are pregnant. We do this because there are many indications that the very first phase of life, around the time of conception, in particular, is of great importance for the further health and development of children. Pregnant women are also informed of the study by their midwife. It is much more difficult to reach women who are not pregnant yet as we never know who is looking to get pregnant and who is not.  This is why we have set up a door to door campaign in Rotterdam and starting this week we hope that the leaflet about this study will reach as many people as possible.”

“Women and partners who participate in the study will contribute to a better understanding and improvement of the healthcare and health for future parents and their children, even in situations where becoming pregnant is difficult”, says Vincent Jaddoe, Professor of Pediatrics. “We want to find out, for example, why pregnancies are different and why children develop differently. Women who participate will be offered four 3D ultrasounds during their pregnancy. In addition, future parents will complete questionnaires about their health and lifestyle, blood and urine samples will be collected, and other measurements will be taken.  Women who are already pregnant will be invited to take part in further examinations.”

More than 1,500 women and their partners are already participating in the study, and they gave birth to 500 babies. “We are aiming for at least 5,000 mothers and future mothers within two years. The group we are aiming for is this large because we feel it is important that all of Rotterdam is represented. This is certainly a challenge with so many different population groups, ethnic and social diversity, and inequality. So we are really hoping for even more people to sign up. After all, the larger the number of participants, the more reliable our results will be," says Jaddoe.

Generation R Next is a joint project between Erasmus MC, Sophia Children’s Hospital, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and the municipality of Rotterdam. For more information and to sign up see: www.generationr.nl/next or the leaflet (information available in several languages).

Erasmus MC is the largest University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Our primary goal is a healthy population. Nearly 13,000 employees devote themselves every day to providing outstanding care, facilitating world-class education and conducting pioneering research. These professionals are instrumental in developing expertise on health and illness. They link the latest scientific insights to practical treatments and prevention measures to provide maximum benefit to patients and to enable healthy people to stay healthy longer. Being visibly better and leading the way in the areas of complex, innovative and acute care by collaborating with others: these are key ambitions at Erasmus MC.