A team of researchers from the University of Alberta are searching for 10,000 pregnant women in Alberta to partake in a massive study aimed at examining pregnant women’s nutrition and children’s development.

“The goal is to determine the impact of women’s nutrition status during pregnancy on their health and on the health and development of their children,” Dr. Catherine Field, one of the leading researchers involved in the $5 million study told Metro yesterday.

Pregnant women who volunteer to take part in the study will be asked to check in with the researchers once a trimester and also once the baby is two or three months old.

Researchers will be looking at how a pregnant woman’s nutrient intake affects the fetal environment and the fetus’ mental and physical health as well as the mother’s physical and mental health.

Earlier research has shown a connection between nutrient inadequacies and mental health, although the impact of nutrition on mental health of pregnant women has not been well investigated, said the researchers in a release.

“We know that women entering pregnancy have a number of nutrients that are optimal in their diet,” said Field, who’s hoping the resultant data from the five-year research could be used by regulatory agencies such as Health Canada to develop nutritional guidelines for women.

In Edmonton, 5,000 volunteers are asked to contact the University of Alberta at 780-492-4667.

In Calgary, the work will be conducted at Alberta Children’s Hospital.