Progress on Theme 3

Setting the Foundation for Healthy Pregnancies and Lifelong Wellness

Highlighted Programs and Activities

  • NEW: Maternal morbidity and mortality data analysis project
    This project’s goal is to promote innovation in computational analysis and unique learning approaches or models. The effort will utilize publicly available NICHD-funded datasets to identify new paradigms to decrease the rates of maternal morbidity and mortality. Learn more about this effort.
  • Priority: Studies on causes and mechanisms of preterm birth, especially in populations affected by health disparities, to support prevention
    NICHD-funded scientists are studying the potential of surfactant protein A to reduce preterm birth. Other research teams are working to better understand normal and abnormal uterine contraction in term labor and prevent preterm birth. Learn more: R01HD096209; R01HD096385; R01HD097279; R01HD100012; and others.
  • Intramural research: Preterm birth
    The Perinatal Research Branch, within the NICHD Division of Intramural Research, studies intra-amniotic infection and inflammation, vascular disorders, maternal anti-fetal rejection (chronic inflammatory lesions of the placenta), cervical disease, and a decline in progesterone action. Learn more about the branch’s research.

Selected Recent Advances

  • Reducing disparities in Severe Maternal Morbidity (SMM) (PMID: 31978432)
    Researchers analyzed results of an initiative undertaken at 99 California hospitals to reduce the risk of SMM from obstetric hemorrhage, a common major complication of childbirth. The initiative benefitted Black women more than white women, reducing disparities.
  • Placental DNA in maternal blood could predict later pregnancy complications (PMID: 33045922)
    Traces of genetic material from the placenta and other organs circulating in a pregnant woman’s blood stream could potentially be used to predict the risk for complications in later pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
  • Women with asthma may be at higher risk for weight gain during pregnancy (PMID: 33169142)
    Scientists found that women with asthma were more likely than women without asthma to gain weight during pregnancy and to retain weight 3 months after giving birth. On average, women with asthma gained 3.1 kilograms (just less than 7 pounds) more after a full-term pregnancy than did women without asthma.
top of pageBACK TO TOP