Cambridge Human Imaging and Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study

Are you a pregnant mum with an autism spectrum condition?

This study is observing the early development of the baby in pregnancies where the mother has a diagnosis of autism.

If you decide to participate, you would be invited for an MRI scan in your last trimester of pregnancy, at the Rosie Maternity Hospital in Cambridge, so we can study your baby's brain even before birth.

After your baby is born we will look at your baby's behaviour, including play, social behaviour, communication, and another MRI to look at their brain structure. We will also look at your baby's growth.

Separately, we’d like to find out about your experience of pregnancy and motherhood so that we can identify areas where support might be helpful for mothers with autism in the future.

There will be five visits in total: during your pregnancy (an in person visit for an MRI), when your baby is 2-3 months old (an in person visit for infant MRI), a 6-month (in person) visit, at 18-months (postal or online questionnaires only), and finally at 24-months (in person visit).

If you live in the UK or in Europe we can pay for you to visit Cambridge, and we will reimburse all travel expenses and hotel accommodation, and you will receive an additional £20/visit for each visit. A cheque will be sent to you after each visit. We will also give you a picture of your baby from your scan.

We are not doing this research with the aim of prenatal screening or with a view to termination, since this does not align with our ethical values of respecting autistic people. The aim is to see if we can predict which babies will develop autism from their early brain and behaviour measures. In the future, we hope that this information will help to ensure support for babies and young children from an earlier age.

If you are interested in finding out more about this study or would like to take part, please contact Sarah Hampton or Ezra Aydin, by email or by telephone (01223 465230).

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