Period pain to pregnancy weight gain: What’s really going on in the amazing female body? Event as iCalendar

21 November 2017

6 - 7:30pm

Venue: Liggins Institute – Room 505-007

Location: 85 Park Road, Grafton, Auckland

Cost: Free

Contact email:


Come and hear four of our researchers unpick the science from the scaremongering to explain what we know about the business of being female.

From putting up with period pain, to the minefield of what to eat during pregnancy, to the discovery that breastfeeding might not actually be easy, this is your chance to get a better understanding of the issues that affect so many of us and the interventions that could make a difference.

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Meet the speakers. From left to right: Dr Anna Ponnampalam, PhD candidate Jasmine Plows, Dr Clare Reynolds, Dr Shikha Pundir

Let’s talk about endometriosis!
Dr Anna Ponnampalam

Endometriosis is one of the world’s most misunderstood diseases. More than 170 million girls and women worldwide suffer from it, yet most people have never heard of it. As invasive surgery is the only diagnostic tool and severe pain during periods is considered ‘normal’, many women put off getting help until the disease is very advanced. Anna is passionate about understanding what actually causes endometriosis in order to find ways to develop non-invasive diagnostic tests and non-hormonal medical treatments that can both prevent and treat it.

Life before birth: What happens in the womb and can it set us on a path to adult disease?
PhD candidate Jasmine Plows

We all know there are two things that are responsible for disease: genetics and the environment. We can’t change our genetics, but we can improve our chances of staying healthy by eating the right things and exercising regularly. But did you know there is a third, very important determinant of life-long health? It turns out that the experiences a person has even before birth can greatly influence their chances of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease as adults. Jasmine will explain the fascinating evidence behind this concept and the personal story that motivates her to study it.

Eating for two: Can what we eat during pregnancy shape our children’s future?
Dr Clare Reynolds

There are many myths and old wives tales about pregnancy and one of the most common is the misconception that pregnant women should be “eating for two”. However, with so much conflicting advice it can be almost impossible to work out what you should be eating and whether you should be exercising. One thing has become very clear though: gaining too much or too little weight can be detrimental for both mother and child. Clare’s research examines the adverse effects that nutrient excess in early life can have on our health and whether or not these effects can be reversed.

Mother’s milk: Locally sourced and custom made for your baby
Dr Shikha Pundir

For babies, their mother’s milk is a magic potion containing all sort of nutrients essential for boosting growth and immunity. Breast milk even has the remarkable ability to change its composition and volume to adapt the growing needs of the baby. In short, it’s a food exclusively made for your child: a tailor-made and cost effective option for infant feeding. But is the health and wellbeing of breast-feeding mothers sometimes neglected? In Shika’s talk she will examine the benefits of breast milk as well as the stereotypes, challenges and expectations placed on new mothers.


Great Kiwi Research: sharing women's discoveries

Great research is going on in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Royal Society Te Apārangi is sharing it through a series of public lectures like this to celebrate the organisation's 150th Birthday. In particular, they are showcasing women’s research, across all disciplines, reflecting the Society's mandate to explore, discover and share knowledge. The Liggins Institute has teamed up with the Royal Society to showcase the work of four of our female researchers at this special public lecture on Tuesday 21 November.

Book your place now