Lesley Margaret Elizabeth Mccowan
Neonatology, Paediatric Endocrinology
Auckland University of Technology
Professor Lesley McCowan is a sub-specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine who became Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2009. In 2011 she received a New Year’s Honour (Officer of New Zealand Order of Merit) for services to health. Her clinical work is in high risk pregnancy especially preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction, and she chairs the National Women’s Hospital perinatal mortality review process. She was a founding member of the National Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee which reports on perinatal mortality nationally. Lesley is also the secretary of the New Zealand Committee of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
In 2004 Lesley McCowan and Professor Robyn North were awarded $6.2 million in funding to undertake the SCOPE study (Screening for pregnancy Endpoints Study) which aims to identify early in pregnancy, nulliparous women, who will later develop preeclampsia, preterm birth or have a growth restricted baby (www.scopestudy.net). The SCOPE study has established one of the best pregnancy databases in the world and a unique high quality pregnancy biobank containing maternal, paternal and baby specimens. These high quality resources provide ongoing opportunities for research collaborations both within New Zealand and internationally. A follow up study of Auckland SCOPE mothers and children, 6 years post birth, has just been completed. Another key research interest is the epidemiology of stillbirth, in particular the role of maternal sleep practices. She is the lead investigator in a multicentre New Zealand case control study which aims to identify modifiable risk factors for late (>28 weeks’) stillbirth. The long term goal of this research program is to develop preventative strategies for late stillbirth. Her other major research project is the HUMBA (Healthy Mums and Babies) demonstration trial which will commence recruitment in April 2015. Obese pregnant women from South Auckland will be recruited to this four arm randomized controlled trial, of dietary education accompanied by motivational texting, along with probiotics/placebo. The aims are to reduce excessive pregnancy weight gain, improve maternal glucose metabolism and reduce infant birthweight.