It’s the mother! Is there a strong scientific rationale for studying pregnant mothers so intensively?

Dr Gemma Sharp, University of Bristol, writes the inaugural WRISK guest blog.

“For many years, researchers have been studying how our early life experiences, including those that happen before we are born, can affect our lifelong health. In an article we wrote last year, Debbie Lawlor (University of Bristol), Sarah Richardson (Harvard University) and I show that most of these studies have focused on the characteristics and behaviours of mothers around the time of pregnancy.

We argue this is because people assume that mothers, through their connection to the developing fetus in the womb, are the single most important factor in shaping a child’s health. In our article, we question the truth behind this assumption.”