Vogliamoci Bene - Professor Claire Roberts - 19th April 2024

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This week's PODCAST with Mario Corena & ''Vogliamoci Bene'', we welcome in Studio Sanremo special guest Professor Claire Roberts, leading placenta and pregnancy researcher

Claire is an inaugural NHMRC Leadership Fellow and Professor and Matthew Flinders Fellow. She leads the Pregnancy Health and Beyond Laboratory (PHaB Lab) within the College of Medicine and Public Health and Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute at Flinders University.

Claire moved her research group to Flinders University in March 2020 after 25 years at the University of Adelaide where she is an Adjunct Professor. She is an internationally recognised authority and thought leader in placenta research. 

She has a strong interest in genetic and modifiable lifestyle factors including maternal nutrition that contribute to health in pregnancy and long into the future for mother and child. She has led research on large human pregnancy cohorts in Adelaide since 2005.

Claire is also a mum to two amazing young women and grandma to four beautiful kids aged 3-9 years. Claire and her twin brother are the youngest of six kids. Her family emigrated from Belfast in Northern Ireland when she was only five years old. She is the only one in the family to have gone to University and feels privileged to have been able to undertake a PhD which was awarded in 1995.

In this PODCAST we ask Claire the following :

Tell us a bit about yourself re where you were born, school, suburbs etc

What motivated you to study pregnancy? Again happy for you to share what you are comfortable with here.

How common are the different pregnancy complications? Is their incidence rising? What can we do about it?

How common are stillbirth and neonatal death?

Is maternal mental health a factor that contributes to pregnancy complications?

What do we know about how chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes are transmitted across generations? What can we do about it?

What do we know about differences in pregnancy and birth outcomes when the baby is male compared to when the baby is female?         


Pregnancy Facts

The number of babies born each year in Australia has been steadily rising over many, many years. There are about 315,000 babies born each year in Australia including about 20,000 in South Australia. 

About 30% of pregnancies are affected by hypertensive disorders including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, spontaneous preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, stillbirth and neonatal death. Mothers who had one of these complications are at greater risk for developing chronic disease later. 

For example, half of the women who had gestational diabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years and their children are at greater risk for obesity and diabetes. So health in pregnancy foreshadows future health for both mothers and their children.

Women living with disadvantage are at greater risk.

We absolutely need more research in this area. We need to think about women’s and children’s health more holistically and across the life course. That is everybody’s health.

Perinatal deaths data see https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mothers-babies/stillbirths-and-neonatal-deaths

Claire is a truly remarkable woman who through her own grief is excelling in her research with a great team of researchers. I was so much in awe of this interview and it was an honour to do it. 

Thank you Claire!  

So don't disappoint yourself, I urge you to listen to this fantastic PODCAST via the link -


So let's start the conversation today!


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