Lifelines NEXT

Lifelines NEXT

An internationally unique birth cohort that contains a treasure trove of data for 1500 mother-baby pairs. Cohort
An internationally unique birth cohort that contains a treasure trove of data for 1500 mother-baby pairs.
Why does one person develop a chronic disease, while another does not? The answer may lie in the first 1000 days of our life.

The period from conception until a person’s second birthday has proven to be crucial. Many early exposures, such as nutrition, can have a long-term effect on health and development. Yet the ‘How?’ in these effects is largely unknown. How does the gut microbiome develop in babies? What is its effect? What is the effect of breast milk?

To answer these questions, the Lifelines NEXT cohort project was initiated. Lifelines NEXT follows approximately 1,500 mother–baby pairs from pregnancy through the first years of life. Partners were invited to join the study as well. The longitudinal health data we collect will be linked to environmental factors, genetics, gut microbiome, breast milk composition and other important health parameters.

Lifelines NEXT is open for collaboration!

Lifelines NEXT aims to:

  • Intensively follow ~1,500 women and their children for at least 1 year after birth;  
  • Map the effect of all kinds of factors on health and disease in the first phase of life;
  • Gain insights into the health and development of the child; 
  • Discover why some people develop chronic disease over the course of a lifetime and others do not; 
  • Promote the healthy growth and development of children; 
  • Contribute to the future of health. 
  • Participants have to meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for inclusion: 

    • Pregnant
    • Living in the northern provinces of the Netherlands (Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe) 
    • Willing and able to fill in (digital) questionnaires 
    • Willing and able to collect biomaterials from themselves and the enrolled child 

    Lifelines NEXT aims to include 1500 mother-baby pairs. Partners are also welcome to join Lifelines NEXT and should meet the last three inclusion criteria. 

    As of June 2023, Lifelines NEXT is complete! We are no longer looking to enrol new participants.

  • In the UMCG Research Data Catalogue you will find an overview of all biomaterials and questionnaires that are collected in Lifelines NEXT. In this overview, you can see when biomaterials are collected and questionnaires are sent. For the content of the questionnaires, click here

    Lifelines NEXT conducts research during pregnancy, just after childbirth and during the first years after birth (until the Lifelines NEXT children are old enough to enter the regular Lifelines study [around the age of 6-10 years]). The research consists largely of the donation of body materials; we ask for blood, faeces and (if possible) breast milk from mothers and we also take some materials from the baby.

    In addition, the research consists of completing various questionnaires that, for example, deal with living situation, health, lifestyle, nutrition and the relationship between parents and their child. Next to genetic and microbiome data, this results in the collection of immune, environmental, lifestyle and health parameters over multiple time points. Until the first birthday of the child, we collect a lot of data (monthly). After that, a request will be made twice a year for completing a questionnaire and once a year for the collection of biomaterials. 

    Would you like to do research in Lifelines NEXT? This possibility exists. To do this, fill in either one of these forms: 

    An application for data is assessed by the Data Access Committee of Lifelines NEXT.


    • Medical factors 

    • Social factors 

    • Lifestyle 

    • Environmental factors 

    • Living situation 

    • Health 

    • Nutrition 

    • Parent/child relationship 


    • Maternal, paternal and neonatal (cord) blood samples 

    • Faeces (mother and child) 

    • Vaginal swab 

    • Placental tissue 

    • Breast milk 

    • Skin tapes (child) 

    • Nasal swabs (child) 

    • Mouth swab (child) 

    • Urine (child) 


    • Bayley-III 

    • SCORAD 

    • Alexandra Zhernakova (Chair) 

    • Sanne Gordijn 

    • Menno Reijneveld 

    • Gerard Koppelman 

    • Jackie Dekens 

    • Jelmer Prins 

    • Aline Sprikkelman 

    • Ank de Jonge 

    • Henkjan Verkade 

    • Jochen Mierau 

    • Soesma Jankipersadsing 

    • Cobie van der Wal 

    • Anna van der Laan 

    • UMCG Department Paediatrics 

    • UMCG Department Medical sciences 

    • Lifelines 

  • For a quick introduction into Lifelines NEXT, watch: Lifelines NEXT - Aanmeldingsanimatie. For detailed information, please visit Lifelines NEXT


Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen
Department of Genetics
T.a.v. Lifelines NEXT
Answer number 299
9700 VB Groningen
The Netherlands

Visiting Address
Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen
Department of Genetics
Lifelines NEXT
9700 VB Groningen
The Netherlands