THE OPENING OF THE MOTHER AND BABY CLINIC IN 1994
The clinic's purpose is prevention of low birth weight and preterm births. These carry the highest risks for poor health, learning disabilities, behavioural disorders, and brain damage.
It has been at the forefront of advising on nutrition and health to mothers intending to have a baby. Furthermore, it counsels mothers with disappointing pregnancies either as perterm delivery or mortality.
It arranged group teaching session to empower the local community. It works with the Homerton Maternity Hospital and with schools because teenage young girls are physiologically preparing for pregnancy. As a resource centre for nutrition and dietetics, it acts as an advisory and research base for health professionals and others at the Homerton, Royal London and Newham General Hospitals. It developed a prospective data-base on over 2,000 pregnancies which includes obstetric, socio-economic, nutritional, and anthropometric data on the neonate together with information on the help, and advice, given in a population with a wide range of ethic minorities. Dr. Wendy Doyle provided evidence for the DoH acting as consultant to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on National surveys: including one on the elderly. In a study in the East-end, 80% had poor diets compared to DoH and WHO recommendations for pregnancy and over half of those had blood folic acid levels in the severely deficient range. If further confirmed, these findings have very important policy implications.
The Mother and Baby Clinic in Homerton, East London. Funds are urgently needed to support and develop the work of the clinic with the employment of dieticians, and educators, to help enhance pregnancy outcome and break the vicious cycle of deprivation.
One series of papers emerged from the clinic run initially by Wendy Doyle, a State Registered Dietician in collaboration with Professor Kate Costeloe, Peggy and Arthur Wynn. These clearly identified poor maternal nutrition as an risk factor for low birthweight independent of smoking socio-economic status and ethnicity.