Concept: Maternal bond
The development of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is considered the biggest change to the global energy production system in the last half-century. However, several communities have banned fracking because of unresolved concerns about the impact of this process on human health. To evaluate the potential health impacts of fracking, we analyzed records of more than 1.1 million births in Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2013, comparing infants born to mothers living at different distances from active fracking sites and those born both before and after fracking was initiated at each site. We adjusted for fixed maternal determinants of infant health by comparing siblings who were and were not exposed to fracking sites in utero. We found evidence for negative health effects of in utero exposure to fracking sites within 3 km of a mother’s residence, with the largest health impacts seen for in utero exposure within 1 km of fracking sites. Negative health impacts include a greater incidence of low-birth weight babies as well as significant declines in average birth weight and in several other measures of infant health. There is little evidence for health effects at distances beyond 3 km, suggesting that health impacts of fracking are highly local. Informal estimates suggest that about 29,000 of the nearly 4 million annual U.S. births occur within 1 km of an active fracking site and that these births therefore may be at higher risk of poor birth outcomes.
Emerging evidence suggests that the in utero environment is not sterile as once presumed. Work in the mouse demonstrated transmission of commensal bacteria from mother to fetus during gestation, though it is unclear what modulates this process. We have previously shown in the nonhuman primate that, independent of obesity, a maternal high-fat diet during gestation and lactation persistently shapes the juvenile gut microbiome. We therefore sought to interrogate in a population-based human longitudinal cohort whether a maternal high-fat diet similarly alters the neonatal and infant gut microbiome in early life.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR) is common in infants. When the condition causes pathological symptoms and/or complications it is considered gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). It appears to be increasingly diagnosed and causes great distress in the first year of infancy. In New South Wales (NSW), residential parenting services support families with early parenting difficulties. These services report a large number of babies admitted with a label of GOR/GORD. The aim of this study was to explore the maternal and infant characteristics, obstetric interventions, and reasons for clinical reporting of GOR/GORD in NSW in the first 12 months following birth (2000-2011).
There is a need for neonatal screening tools to improve the long-term clinical outcome of patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PID). Recently, a PCR-based screening method for both TRECs and KRECs using Guthrie card samples has been developed. However, the applicability of these excision circle assays is limited to patients with severe T or B cell lymphopenia (SCID, XLA and A-T), whereas the most common forms of PID are not detected. Absence of serum IgA is seen in a major fraction of patients with immunological defects. As serum IgA in newborns is considered to be of fetal origin, eluates from routinely collected dried blood spot samples might thus be suitable for identification of children with PID. To assess the applicability of such screening assays, stored Guthrie card samples were obtained from 47 patients with various forms of primary immunodeficiency diseases (SCID, XLA, A-T, HIGM and IgAD), 20 individuals with normal serum IgA levels born to IgA-deficient mothers and 51 matched healthy newborns. Surprisingly, normal serum IgA levels were found in all SCID, XLA, A-T and HIGM patients and, additionally, in all those IgAD patients born to IgA-sufficient mothers. Conversely, no serum IgA was found in any of the 16 IgAD patients born by IgA-deficient mothers. Moreover, half of the IgA-sufficient individuals born by IgA-deficient mothers also lacked IgA at birth whereas no IgA-deficient individuals were found among the controls. IgA in neonatal dried blood samples thus appears to be of both maternal and fetal origin and precludes its use as a reliable marker for neonatal screening of primary immunodeficiency diseases.
A randomized controlled trial of exercise during pregnancy on maternal and neonatal outcomes: results from the PAMELA study
- The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity
- Published almost 2 years ago
Women are encouraged to be physically active during pregnancy. Despite available evidence supporting antenatal physical activity to bring health benefits for both the mother and child, the most effective way to prevent some maternal and fetal outcomes is still unclear. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of an exercise intervention to prevent negative maternal and newborn health outcomes.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published almost 3 years ago
Research in humans and nonhuman animals indicates that social affiliation, and particularly maternal bonding, depends on reward circuitry. Although numerous mechanistic studies in rodents demonstrated that maternal bonding depends on striatal dopamine transmission, the neurochemistry supporting maternal behavior in humans has not been described so far. In this study, we tested the role of central dopamine in human bonding. We applied a combined functional MRI-PET scanner to simultaneously probe mothers' dopamine responses to their infants and the connectivity between the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), the amygdala, and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which form an intrinsic network (referred to as the “medial amygdala network”) that supports social functioning. We also measured the mothers' behavioral synchrony with their infants and plasma oxytocin. The results of this study suggest that synchronous maternal behavior is associated with increased dopamine responses to the mother’s infant and stronger intrinsic connectivity within the medial amygdala network. Moreover, stronger network connectivity is associated with increased dopamine responses within the network and decreased plasma oxytocin. Together, these data indicate that dopamine is involved in human bonding. Compared with other mammals, humans have an unusually complex social life. The complexity of human bonding cannot be fully captured in nonhuman animal models, particularly in pathological bonding, such as that in autistic spectrum disorder or postpartum depression. Thus, investigations of the neurochemistry of social bonding in humans, for which this study provides initial evidence, are warranted.
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.
We examined parent-child relationship quality and positive mental well-being using Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development data. Well-being was measured at ages 13-15 (teacher-rated happiness), 36 (life satisfaction), 43 (satisfaction with home and family life) and 60-64 years (Diener Satisfaction With Life scale and Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-being scale). The Parental Bonding Instrument captured perceived care and control from the father and mother to age 16, recalled by study members at age 43. Greater well-being was seen for offspring with higher combined parental care and lower combined parental psychological control (p < 0.05 at all ages). Controlling for maternal care and paternal and maternal behavioural and psychological control, childhood social class, parental separation, mother's neuroticism and study member's personality, higher well-being was consistently related to paternal care. This suggests that both mother-child and father-child relationships may have short and long-term consequences for positive mental well-being.
Postpartum depression is common and associated with adverse infant and maternal outcomes (e.g., lower breastfeeding initiation and duration and poor maternal and infant bonding) (1-3). A developmental Healthy People 2020 objective is to decrease the proportion of women delivering a live birth who experience postpartum depressive symptoms (PDS).* To provide a baseline for this objective, CDC sought to describe self-reported PDS overall, by reporting state, and by selected sociodemographic factors, using 2004, 2008, and 2012 data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). A decline in the prevalence of PDS was observed from 2004 (14.8%) to 2012 (9.8%) among 13 states with data for all three periods (p<0.01). Statistically significant (p<0.05) declines in PDS prevalence were observed for eight states, and no significant changes were observed for five states. In 2012, the overall PDS prevalence was 11.5% for 27 states and ranged from 8.0% (Georgia) to 20.1% (Arkansas). By selected characteristics, PDS prevalence was highest among new mothers who 1) were aged ≤19 years or 20-24 years, 2) were of American Indian/Alaska Native or Asian/Pacific Islander race/ethnicity, 3) had ≤12 years of education, 4) were unmarried, 5) were postpartum smokers, 6) had three or more stressful life events in the year before birth, 7) gave birth to term, low-birthweight infants, and 8) had infants requiring neonatal intensive care unit admission at birth. Although the study did not investigate reasons for the decline, better recognition of risk factors for depression and improved screening and treatment before and during pregnancy, including increased use of antidepressants, might have contributed to the decline. However, more efforts are needed to reduce PDS prevalence in certain states and subpopulations of women. Ongoing surveillance and activities to promote appropriate screening, referral, and treatment are needed to reduce PDS among U.S. women.
Background The incidence of the neonatal abstinence syndrome, a drug-withdrawal syndrome that most commonly occurs after in utero exposure to opioids, is known to have increased during the past decade. However, recent trends in the incidence of the syndrome and changes in demographic characteristics and hospital treatment of these infants have not been well characterized. Methods Using multiple cross-sectional analyses and a deidentified data set, we analyzed data from infants with the neonatal abstinence syndrome from 2004 through 2013 in 299 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) across the United States. We evaluated trends in incidence and health care utilization and changes in infant and maternal clinical characteristics. Results Among 674,845 infants admitted to NICUs, we identified 10,327 with the neonatal abstinence syndrome. From 2004 through 2013, the rate of NICU admissions for the neonatal abstinence syndrome increased from 7 cases per 1000 admissions to 27 cases per 1000 admissions; the median length of stay increased from 13 days to 19 days (P<0.001 for both trends). The total percentage of NICU days nationwide that were attributed to the neonatal abstinence syndrome increased from 0.6% to 4.0% (P<0.001 for trend), with eight centers reporting that more than 20% of all NICU days were attributed to the care of these infants in 2013. Infants increasingly received pharmacotherapy (74% in 2004-2005 vs. 87% in 2012-2013, P<0.001 for trend), with morphine the most commonly used drug (49% in 2004 vs. 72% in 2013, P<0.001 for trend). Conclusions From 2004 through 2013, the neonatal abstinence syndrome was responsible for a substantial and growing portion of resources dedicated to critically ill neonates in NICUs nationwide.