Ebner A, Thyrian JR, Lange A, Lingnau M-L, Scheler-Hofmann M, Rosskopf D, Zygmunt M, Haas J-P, Hoffmann W, Fusch C. Survey of Neonates in Pomerania (SNiP): a population-based birth study – objectives, design and population coverage. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2010; 24: 190–199.
Neonatal health is of major concern to parents, midwives, physicians and society as a whole, yet a prospective population-based birth cohort to collect comprehensive data on multiple issues including medical, social, environmental and genetic aspects remains to be established in Germany. The survey of newborns in Pomerania (SNiP) described in this paper attempts to take up this goal. The objectives of SNiP are to establish (a) a population-based birth cohort providing detailed information about neonatal health, morbidity and mortality, (b) a biobank with newborn DNA and serum from cord blood, placenta tissue samples and DNA obtained from oral mucosal swabs of the mothers, (c) a prospective study design by re-examination of the SNiP population prior to attendance at primary school. From March 2003 until November 2008 all childbearing mothers in a well-defined region in North-Eastern Germany were asked to participate with their newborns. Detailed data on health status of the newborn, pregnancy, medical and family history, socio-economic status and maternal life style were obtained via face-to-face interview, standardised questionnaires and medical records. Placental tissue samples, cord blood plasma and DNA were continuously collected; sampling of maternal DNA from mouth swabs started in 2007. As a result, during the study period n = 6747 births and n = 6828 babies were enrolled.
A population coverage of 95% was achieved. The active participation rate was 75%. A non-responder analysis revealed no meaningful selection bias. Thus, SNiP is a population-based, representative study in Germany that is able to describe the health and living conditions of newborns and their families comprehensively. It can contribute to existing knowledge and to similar cohort studies since data are accessible by researchers.