Free Babybrains workshops for expectant mums taking part in research

  • Date

    Thu 2 Nov 17

A photo of a baby standing up and reaching for some bubbles floating in front of it, with "University of Essex Babylab" in red and purple text on the left.

Expectant mums are being offered the chance to give their babies the best possible start in life and at the same time contribute to ground-breaking research at the University of Essex.

The University’s Babylab is looking into how a mother’s mood and experiences influence her child’s development, and researchers are inviting pregnant women to take part in the study called: It all starts in the womb.

As Dr Silvia Rigato, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology, explained:  “We know from our previous research that maternal mood around the time of the birth is important for determining some aspects of baby’s development. As happy mums usually have happy babies, so babies of mums who were feeling down may tend to be more irritable later on in life.

 “We now want to find out if a mother’s mood earlier on in pregnancy can have a similar impact on their baby’s development, and if it does, whether science-based parenting classes can have a positive impact by encouraging greater parent-baby bonding from the very beginning.”

Those signing up for the study will be invited to two interactive workshops covering a range of topics from establishing good family habits and encouraging language development to how to effectively motivate and discipline children.

The workshops will take place on November 21 and 22 at the University and will be run by Dr Silvia Dalvit Menabe, founder of Babybrains, which aims to help parents navigate their way through conflicting parenting advice by providing science-based information from experts in psychology and neuroscience.

Participants will be encouraged to download and use the Babybrains app which provides lots of ideas for activities and interactions to help with baby’s development. They will also be asked to complete an anonymous 15-minute on-line questionnaire. There will be five further questionnaires to complete at key developmental stages up until their child is one year old.

To take part in the study, mums-to-be need to between 30 and 42 weeks pregnant. They can sign up on the Eventbrite website or contact the Babylab at: