About the Ontario Birth Study

The Ontario Birth Study (OBS) is an ongoing study of pregnant individuals coming to Mount Sinai Hospital (MSH) for prenatal care. The OBS was developed to create a resource for researchers interested in assessing pregnancy complications and the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD). The OBS enable researchers to study factors contributing to pregnancy and child health and examine how events during pregnancy and early postnatal life relate to later health, learning and social functioning. Recruitment begins at 11 weeks gestational age and continues until 6 months post-partum. In 2018 the OBS Kids was created, a follow-up allowing ongoing information collection from previous OBS participants and their children. We have thus far followed children up to 5 years of age.

Globally, there are at least 10 million high-risk pregnancy complications per year. These include conditions such as preeclampsia (high blood pressure), preterm birth, and diabetes in pregnancy. Our ability to predict or prevent pregnancy complications remains limited, making the OBS a valuable resource for researchers who are focused on improving pregnancy care.

Growth and development of babies during pregnancy and early childhood has been linked to changes in the lifetime risk of developing obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and mood disorders. These disorders account for one third of the global burden of disease. Our long-term goal is to create knowledge that informs improvement of both clinical care for pregnant individuals and the long-term health and development of their children.

The OBS is a prospective observational cohort study and is completely voluntary. A focus of the study is to make it easy to participate in research . We have done this by integrating research with routine prenatal care. We collect information from questionnaires, medical charts and biological samples. Data and biospecimens are made available to researchers with careful consideration of privacy, security, and research ethics. Eventually, we hope to offer all individuals seeking prenatal care at MSH the opportunity to participate in this ongoing research.

All data and samples collected are stored securely and can only be accessed by authorized research personnel without identifying information for distribution to studies with ethical approval that have been reviewed and approved by the OBS Steering Committee. Biological samples are processed and stored at the Biospecimen Repository at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Mount Sinai Hospital.