Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Maternal and child health journal


This study aimed to identify the causal effect of breastfeeding on postpartum depression (PPD), using data on mothers from a British survey, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Multivariate linear and logistic regressions were performed to investigate the effects of breastfeeding on mothers' mental health measured at 8 weeks, 8, 21 and 32 months postpartum. The estimated effect of breastfeeding on PPD differed according to whether women had planned to breastfeed their babies, and by whether they had shown signs of depression during pregnancy. For mothers who were not depressed during pregnancy, the lowest risk of PPD was found among women who had planned to breastfeed, and who had actually breastfed their babies, while the highest risk was found among women who had planned to breastfeed and had not gone on to breastfeed. We conclude that the effect of breastfeeding on maternal depression is extremely heterogeneous, being mediated both by breastfeeding intentions during pregnancy and by mothers' mental health during pregnancy. Our results underline the importance of providing expert breastfeeding support to women who want to breastfeed; but also, of providing compassionate support for women who had intended to breastfeed, but who find themselves unable to.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infant, Causality, Breastfeeding, Oxytocin, Maternal bond, Baby bottle


Objective To determine, among children with normal birth weight, if maternal hyperglycemia and weight gain independently increase childhood obesity risk in a very large diverse population. Methods Study population was 24,141 individuals (mothers and their normal birth weight offspring, born 1995-2003) among a diverse population with universal GDM screening [50-g glucose-challenge test (GCT); 3 h. 100 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) if GCT+]. Among the 13,037 full-term offspring with normal birth weight (2500-4000 g), annual measured height/weight was ascertained between ages 2 and 10 years to calculate gender-specific BMI-for-age percentiles using USA norms (1960-1995 standard). Results Among children who began life with normal birth weight, we found a significant trend for developing both childhood overweight (>85 %ile) and obesity (>95 %ile) during the first decade of life with both maternal hyperglycemia (normal GCT, GCT+ but no GDM, GDM) and excessive gestational weight gain [>40 pounds (18.1 kg)]; p < 0.0001 for both trends. These maternal glucose and/or weight gain effects to imprint for childhood obesity in the first decade remained after adjustment for potential confounders including maternal age, parity, as well as pre-pregnancy BMI. The attributable risk (%) for childhood obesity was 28.5 % (95 % CI 15.9-41.1) for GDM and 16.4 % (95 % CI 9.4-23.2) for excessive gestational weight gain. Conclusions for Practice Both maternal hyperglycemia and excessive weight gain have independent effects to increase childhood obesity risk. Future research should focus on prevention efforts during pregnancy as a potential window of opportunity to reduce childhood obesity.

Concepts: Nutrition, Insulin, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Blood sugar, Glucose tolerance test, Impaired fasting glycaemia, Impaired glucose tolerance


To characterize the prevalence of and factors associated with clinicians' prenatal suspicion of a large baby; and to determine whether communicating fetal size concerns to patients was associated with labor and delivery interventions and outcomes.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infant, Fetus, Uterus, Obstetrics, Placenta, Pelvic girdle pain


Objectives The purpose of this study is to evaluate the prevalence, impact, and interaction of short interpregnancy interval (IPI), pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) category, and pregnancy weight gain (PWG) on the rate of preterm birth. Methods This is a population-based retrospective cohort study using vital statistics birth records from 2006 to 2011 in OH, US, analyzing singleton live births to multiparous mothers with recorded IPI (n = 393,441). Preterm birth rate at <37 weeks gestational age was compared between the referent pregnancy (defined as normal pre-pregnancy maternal BMI, IPI of 12-24 months, and Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended PWG) and those with short or long IPI, abnormal BMI (underweight, overweight, and obese), and high or low PWG (under or exceeding IOM recommendations). Results Only 6 % of the women in this study had a referent pregnancy, with a preterm birth rate of 7.6 % for this group. Short IPIs of <6 and 6-12 months were associated with increased rates of preterm birth rate to 12.9 and 10.4 %, respectively. Low PWG compared to IOM recommendations for pre-pregnancy BMI class was also associated with increased preterm birth rate of 13.2 % for all BMI classes combined. However, the highest rate of preterm birth of 25.2 % occurred in underweight women with short IPI and inadequate weight gain with adjOR 3.44 (95 % CI 2.80, 4.23). The fraction of preterm births observed in this cohort that can be attributed to short IPIs is 5.9 %, long IPIs is 8.3 %, inadequate PWG is 7.5 %, and low pre-pregnancy BMI is 2.2 %. Conclusions Our analysis indicates that a significant proportion of preterm births in Ohio are associated with potentially modifiable risk factors. These data suggest public health initiatives focused on preterm birth prevention could include counseling and interventions to optimize preconception health and prenatal nutrition.

Concepts: Cohort study, Childbirth, Epidemiology, Demography, Obesity, Obstetrics, Body mass index, Gestational age


Objectives Assess the influence of maternal race on the association between interpregnancy interval (IPI) and risk of small for gestational age (SGA) and large for gestational age (LGA) births. Methods Statewide population-based cohort study of 380,520 singleton births. We calculated risk of SGA and LGA births following IPIs of 0 to <6, 6 to <12, 12 to <24 (referent), 24 to <60 months, and ≥60 months, by maternal race after adjustment for confounding influences. Results The highest risk for SGA among white women followed short IPI of 0 to <6 months [adjRR 1.14 (95 % CI 1.08-1.21)], and long IPI ≥ 60 months [adjRR 1.37 (95 % CI 1.31-1.43)]. Only long IPI ≥ 60 months increased SGA risk in black women [adjRR 1.22 (95 % CI 1.13-1.32)]. LGA risk in white women was lowest with shortest and longest IPIs, 0 to <6 [adjRR 0.80 (95 % CI 0.76-0.84)] and ≥60 months [adjRR 0.68 (95 % CI 0.66-0.70)]. The crude risk of LGA was directly proportional to longer IPIs in black women. However, after adjusting for confounding effects of age, obesity, excessive gestational weight gain, and gestational diabetes, the effect was reversed to reduced risk following long IPI ≥ 60 months [adjRR 0.82 (95 % CI 0.74-0.91)], similar to that of white women. Conclusions In black and white women, an interpregnancy interval of 1-2 years is associated with optimal fetal growth. In addition to birth spacing, addressing modifiable factors such as pre-pregnancy BMI, monitoring gestational weight gain, and control of gestational diabetes in black women may help optimize fetal growth.

Concepts: Cohort study, Pregnancy, Black people, United Kingdom, Race, White people, Gestational age


Objectives This study explored perceived barriers and facilitators to disclosure of postpartum mood disorder (PPMD) symptoms to healthcare professionals among a community-based sample. Methods A sample of predominantly white, middle class, partnered, adult women from an urban area in the southeast United States (n = 211) within 3 years postpartum participated in an online survey including the Perceived Barriers to Treatment Scale, the Maternity Social Support Scale, the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scales-21, and items querying PPMD disclosure. Perceived barriers were operationalized as factors, from the patient’s perspective, that impede or reduce the likelihood of discussing her postpartum mood symptoms with a healthcare provider. Analyses examined: (1) characteristics associated with perceived barriers; (2) characteristics associated with perceived social support; and (3) characteristics, perceived barriers, and perceived social support as predictors of disclosure. Results Over half of the sample reported PPMD symptoms, but one in five did not disclose to a healthcare provider. Approximately half of women reported at least one barrier that made help-seeking “extremely difficult” or “impossible.” Over one-third indicated they had less than adequate social support. Social support and stress, but not barriers, were associated with disclosure in multivariable models. Conclusions for Practice Many women experiencing clinically-significant levels of distress did not disclose their symptoms of PPMD. Beyond universal screening, efforts to promote PPMD disclosure and help-seeking should target mothers' social support networks.

Concepts: Anxiety, Health care, Health care provider, Healthcare, Patient, Mood disorder, Barrier, Barriers


Mother-infant bed-sharing has been a common practice for centuries. Understanding the reasons parents choose to bed-share can help tailor safe sleep education. The purpose of this article was to systematically review the international literature on: (1) reasons parents bed-share, (2) the cultural context of bed-sharing, and (3) implications for interventions and future research. The search occurred August-September 2013 via PubMed, CINAHL, and Psyc INFO using the terms: “infant,” “sleep,” “bed shar*,” “co sleep*,” “sleep location,” “sleep practices,” and “sleep arrangements,” alone or in combination. Google Scholar was searched using: “bed share,” “bed sharing,” “co sleep,” and “co sleeping.” Inclusion criteria were: (1) referenced bed-sharing with infants 12 months or younger; (2) provided reasons for bed-sharing; and (3) published between 1990 and 2013. Studies were excluded if they focused on disorders such as epilepsy, breathing disorders, or among multi-gestational infants. Narrative synthesis was used to summarize findings. Thirty-four studies met inclusion criteria. The main themes around bed-sharing based on this synthesis included: (1) breastfeeding, (2) comforting, (3) better/more sleep, (4) monitoring, (5) bonding/attachment, (6) environmental, (7) crying, (8) tradition, (9) disagree with danger, and (10) maternal instinct. Findings suggest that future research should examine parents' decision-making process on infant sleep location, including how they weigh personal reasons and sources of advice. Public health interventions should incorporate the particular reasons of the population they are targeting. Clinicians should discuss infant sleep environment with each family, along with their motivations for choosing this environment, and work within that framework to address the safety of the sleep environment.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Infant, Decision making, Breastfeeding, Maternal bond, Sleep, Bed, Co-sleeping


Objectives This study was undertaken to determine the cost savings of prevention of adverse birth outcomes for Medicaid women participating in the CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care program at a pilot program in South Carolina. Methods A retrospective five-year cohort study of Medicaid women was assessed for differences in birth outcomes among women involved in CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care (n = 1262) and those receiving individual prenatal care (n = 5066). The study outcomes examined were premature birth and the related outcomes of low birthweight (LBW) and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) visits. Because women were not assigned to the CenteringPregnancy group, a propensity score analysis ensured that the inference of the estimated difference in birth outcomes between the treatment groups was adjusted for nonrandom assignment based on age, race, Clinical Risk Group, and plan type. A series of generalized linear models were run to estimate the difference between the proportions of individuals with adverse birth outcomes, or the risk differences, for CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care participation. Estimated risk differences, the coefficient on the CenteringPregnancy group indicator variable from identity-link binomial variance generalized linear models, were then used to calculate potential cost savings due to participation in the CenteringPregnancy group. Results This study estimated that CenteringPregnancy participation reduced the risk of premature birth (36 %, P < 0.05). For every premature birth prevented, there was an average savings of $22,667 in health expenditures. Participation in CenteringPregnancy reduced the incidence of delivering an infant that was LBW (44 %, P < 0.05, $29,627). Additionally, infants of CenteringPregnancy participants had a reduced risk of a NICU stay (28 %, P < 0.05, $27,249). After considering the state investment of $1.7 million, there was an estimated return on investment of nearly $2.3 million. Conclusions Cost savings were achieved with better outcomes due to the participation in CenteringPregnancy among low-risk Medicaid beneficiaries.

Concepts: Childbirth, Infant, Mathematics, Intensive care medicine, Pediatrics, Investment, Propensity score, Neonatal intensive care unit


Purpose Describe how Ohio and Massachusetts explored severe maternal morbidity (SMM) data, and used these data for increasing awareness and driving practice changes to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality. Description For 2008-2013, Ohio used de-identified hospital discharge records and International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes to identify delivery hospitalizations. Massachusetts used existing linked data system infrastructure to identify delivery hospitalizations from birth certificates linked to hospital discharge records. To identify delivery hospitalizations complicated by one or more of 25 SMMs, both states applied an algorithm of ICD-9-CM diagnosis and procedure codes. Ohio calculated a 2013 SMM rate of 144 per 10,000 delivery hospitalizations; Massachusetts calculated a rate of 162. Ohio observed no increase in the SMM rate from 2008 to 2013; Massachusetts observed a 33% increase. Both identified disparities in SMM rates by maternal race, age, and insurance type. Assessment Ohio and Massachusetts engaged stakeholders, including perinatal quality collaboratives and maternal mortality review committees, to share results and raise awareness about the SMM rates and identified high-risk populations. Both states are applying findings to inform strategies for improving perinatal outcomes, such as simulation training for obstetrical emergencies, licensure rules for maternity units, and a focus on health equity. Conclusion Despite data access differences, examination of SMM data informed public health practice in both states. Ohio and Massachusetts maximized available state data for SMM investigation, which other states might similarly use to understand trends, identify high risk populations, and suggest clinical or population level interventions to improve maternal morbidity and mortality.


During the latter half of the twentieth century, an explosion of research elucidated a growing number of causes of disease and contributors to health. Biopsychosocial models that accounted for the wide range of factors influencing health began to replace outmoded and overly simplified biomedical models of disease causation. More recently, models of lifecourse health development (LCHD) have synthesized research from biological, behavioral and social science disciplines, defined health development as a dynamic process that begins before conception and continues throughout the lifespan, and paved the way for the creation of novel strategies aimed at optimization of individual and population health trajectories. As rapid advances in epigenetics and biological systems research continue to inform and refine LCHD models, our healthcare delivery system has struggled to keep pace, and the gulf between knowledge and practice has widened. This paper attempts to chart the evolution of the LCHD framework, and illustrate its potential to transform how the MCH system addresses social, psychological, biological, and genetic influences on health, eliminates health disparities, reduces chronic illness, and contains healthcare costs. The LCHD approach can serve to highlight the foundational importance of MCH, moving it from the margins of national debate to the forefront of healthcare reform efforts. The paper concludes with suggestions for innovations that could accelerate the translation of health development principles into MCH practice.

Concepts: Health care, Health economics, Medicine, Healthcare reform, Public health, Health insurance, Health, Health disparities