Rachel Hine, a second year undergraduate student studying BSc (Hons) Nutrition Exercise and Health has won a competitive summer studentship worth £2500 from the Nutrition Society. The award will enable Rachel to undertake an 8 week research project within the School of Biomedical and Healthcare Sciences. Rachel will be investigating sleep patterns during pregnancy using data from an existing study which aims to examine the timing and composition of weight gain during pregnancy alongside diet, physical activity and infant anthropometry. The study, which is nearing completion, has been conducted by Kathy Redfern, who will be supervising Rachel over the summer, and her PhD supervisors Dr Gail Rees and Professor Jonathan Pinkney in collaboration with Plymouth NHS Hospitals Trust. 75 women with a BMI >30 were recruited from Antenatal Clinic in Derriford Hospital at their twelve week dating scans, and followed for the rest of their pregnancy. The proposed relationship between sleep and gestational weight gain is relatively novel, with a recent study suggesting a relationship between sleep duration and disruption and weight gain in late pregnancy, and another suggesting sleep to alter glucose metabolism during pregnancy. The existing dataset therefore provides a unique opportunity to examine sleep patterns alongside other maternal lifestyle factors and pregnancy outcomes. The award also includes the opportunity for Rachel to present her findings at the Nutrition Society Student Conference in Reading in September, and it is hoped that Rachel’s work will contribute to a scientific publication.
Below are Rachel (right) and Kathy.