New Moms Wellness Study Recruiting Participants

An interdisciplinary research team is resuming recruitment for the New Moms Wellness Study after revising protocols to eliminate face-to-face contact due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In groundbreaking research funded bya $3.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, environmental toxicologist Kathleen Arcaro, nutritionist Lindiwe Sibeko and cancer epidemiologist Susan Sturgeon are usingbreastmilk to assess whether eating at least eight to 10 daily servings of deeply pigmented and nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables reduces biomarkers of breast cancer risk.

When the UMass campus was closed in March, recruitment was paused, though the study continued with women who were already enrolled. “We moved quickly to modify the study design by eliminating face-to-face interactions while still maintaining the study goals,” says Arcaro, professor of veterinary and animal sciences, whose UMass Breastmilk Lab develops tools to assess breast cancer risk.  

Study participants must live within 25 miles of Amherst, have given birth in the last six weeks or still be pregnant and intending to breastfeed. Women will be randomly assigned to either the diet intervention group or the control group. The diet intervention group will receive boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables weekly and will be asked to eat eight to 10 servings every day. Lactation and nutrition counselors will help participants reach the study goal. The control group will be counseled to follow a nutritional plan recommended to breastfeeding women.

“All the communication and support will take place remotely via phone, FaceTime or videoconferencing.” Arcaro says.

All study participants will be asked to provide breastmilk and infant stool samples and will receive financial compensation for their time.

For more information about the study, email or call 413-545-1037.