Born in Bradford’s Better Start (BiBBS) interventional birth cohort study: Interim cohort profile

Publication authors

Josie Dickerson, Sally Bridges, Kathryn Willan, Brian Kelly, Rachael H. Moss, Jennie Lister, Chandani Netkitsing, Amy L. Atkinson, Philippa K. Bird, Eleanora P. Uphoff, Dan Mason, Alex Newsham, Dagmar Waiblinger, Rifat Razaq, Sara Ahern, Maria Bryant, Sarah L. Blower, Kate E. Pickett, Rosemary M. McEachan, John Wright


Background: The Born in Bradford’s Better Start (BiBBS) interventional birth cohort study was designed as an innovative cohort platform for efficient evaluation of early life interventions delivered through the Better Start Bradford programme. There are a growing number of interventional cohorts being implemented internationally. This paper provides an interim analysis of BiBBS in order to share learning about the feasibility and value of this method.
Methods: Recruitment began in January 2016 and will complete in December 2023 with a target sample of 5,000 pregnancies. An interim data cut was completed for all pregnancies recruited between January 2016 and November 2019 with an expected due date between 1st April 2016 and 8th March 2020. Descriptive statistics were completed on the data.
Results: Of 4,823 eligible pregnancies, 2,626 (54%) pregnancies were recruited, resulting in 2,392 mothers and 2,501 children. The sample are representative of the pregnant population (61% Pakistani heritage; 12% White British; 8% other South Asian and 6% Central and Eastern European ethnicity). The majority of participants (84%) live in the lowest decile of the Index of Multiple Deprivation, and many live in vulnerable circumstances. A high proportion (85%) of BiBBS families have engaged in one or more of the Better Start Bradford interventions. Levels of participation varied by the characteristics of the interventions, such as the requirement for active participation and the length of commitment to a programme.
Conclusions: We have demonstrated the feasibility of recruiting an interventional cohort that includes seldom heard families from ethnic minority and deprived backgrounds. The high level of uptake of interventions is encouraging for the goal of evaluating the process and outcomes of multiple early life interventions using the innovative interventional cohort approach. BiBBS covers a period before, during and after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic which adds scientific value to the cohort.