Study Description


Southampton Women's Survey

Principal Investigator

Professor Cyrus Cooper


MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton


Copyright MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton. All rights reserved.


The Southampton Women's Survey (SWS) is the only birth cohort study in Europe in which the mothers were recruited before conception of the child. It is run by the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit at the University of Southampton.

The aim is the assess and influence of maternal dietary, lifestyle, intrauterine, genetic and epigenetic factors on the children's health and development, and on the health of the mothers themselves.

Between 1998 and 2002 the Survey team interviewed 12,583 Southampton women aged 20 to 34 years. Those who became pregnant after interview were invited to take part in the pregnancy phase of the survey.

Women received ultrasound scans at 11, 29 and 34 weeks of pregnancy, and their babies were measured soon after birth, and their babies were measured soon after birth. There were 3,158 babies born in the study between 1998 and 2007. The survey has also followed up these children with home visits at six months, one year, two and three years.

Samples of the cohort are being followed up subsequently with over 1,000 children seen at 4 years of age, more than 2,000 at ages 6-7 years, and more than 1,000 at 8-9 years. Most recently, the children are being followed up at 11-13 years.

Study website: