Special Issue "Maternal and Child Health: Advances in Translational Research"

A special issue of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032). This special issue belongs to the section "Women Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Hooman Mirzakhani
Website
Guest Editor
Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA
Interests: epidemiology; genomics; translational research; pregnancy-related disorders and early-life adverse effects; bioinformatics; pharmacogenetics; developmental biology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue on maternal and child health will focus on translational research as its central theme. Original research findings from all phases of translational research, ranging from experimental models and genomics to translational epidemiology, will be considered for publication. Articles can also be reviews, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, opinion pieces, or short communications. Submissions on all aspects of maternal health during pregnancy, particularly those with an impact on child health after delivery, are encouraged. With respect to child health, we will give preference to original research on prenatal factors that may influence the development of chronic disease in children.

Dr. Hooman Mirzakhani
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Healthcare is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Pregnancy
  • Maternal and prenatal health
  • Pregnancy-related disorders
  • Child health
  • Epidemiology and clinical research
  • Basic science
  • Genomics
  • Translational research.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Knowledge and Practices in Neonatal Pain Management of Nurses Employed in Hospitals with Different Levels of Referral—Multicenter Study
Healthcare 2021, 9(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9010048 - 05 Jan 2021
Abstract
Background: One of the key elements of patient care is the relief and prevention of pain sensations. The importance of pain prevention and treatment has been emphasized by many international organizations. Despite the recommendations and guidelines based on evidence, contemporary research shows that [...] Read more.
Background: One of the key elements of patient care is the relief and prevention of pain sensations. The importance of pain prevention and treatment has been emphasized by many international organizations. Despite the recommendations and guidelines based on evidence, contemporary research shows that the problem of pain among patients in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in various centers is still an important and neglected problem. Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the level of knowledge of the medical personnel and their perception of the issue of pain in neonatal patients. Methods: A quantitative descriptive study carried out in 2019. The study used a nurses’ perceptions of neonatal pain questionnaire. Results: A total of 43 Polish hospitals and 558 respondents participated in the project. 60.9% (n = 340) and 39.1% (n = 218) of respondents were employed in secondary and tertiary referral departments, respectively. Conclusion: Our analyses indicate that despite the availability of pain assessment tools for neonatal patients, only a few centers use standardized tools. The introduction of strategies to promote and extend the personnel’s awareness of neonatal pain monitoring scales is necessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maternal and Child Health: Advances in Translational Research)
Open AccessArticle
Designing an IT Ecosystem for Pregnancy Care Management Based on Pervasive Technologies
Healthcare 2021, 9(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9010012 - 24 Dec 2020
Abstract
Pregnancy care is a topic of interest for both academia and practitioners. Novel pervasive technologies and applications, such as mobile technologies, wearables and IoT, open a wide corpus of possibilities for fostering pregnancy care management, and reducing risks and problems, improving communication among [...] Read more.
Pregnancy care is a topic of interest for both academia and practitioners. Novel pervasive technologies and applications, such as mobile technologies, wearables and IoT, open a wide corpus of possibilities for fostering pregnancy care management, and reducing risks and problems, improving communication among stakeholders and society development. This article introduces a model of a pregnancy care IT ecosystem based on the integration of various services in a semantically enriched e-health ecosystem. As proof of concept, both the web and mobile applications that aim to help pregnant women and gynaecologists were designed and employed in a real environment. An evaluation of the developed ecosystem was performed on a sample of 500 pregnant women and 100 doctors. After pilot usage, a survey was used to collect the data from participants, and assess the acceptance of the developed system. Results show that quality, usability and usefulness are on a high level, and that both pregnant women and doctors are ready for more extensive use of the system. In addition, research findings imply that employing pervasive technologies could bring significant benefits to all the parties in pregnancy care systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maternal and Child Health: Advances in Translational Research)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Effect of Intrauterine Smoke Exposure on microRNA-15a Expression in Human Lung Development and Subsequent Asthma Risk
Healthcare 2020, 8(4), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8040536 - 04 Dec 2020
Abstract
Background: In utero smoke (IUS) exposure is associated with asthma susceptibility. Objective: We sought to test the hypothesis that changes in miRNA expression by IUS exposure during human lung development is associated with asthma susceptibility. Methods: Gene expression was profiled from 53 IUS [...] Read more.
Background: In utero smoke (IUS) exposure is associated with asthma susceptibility. Objective: We sought to test the hypothesis that changes in miRNA expression by IUS exposure during human lung development is associated with asthma susceptibility. Methods: Gene expression was profiled from 53 IUS unexposed and 51 IUS exposed human fetal lung tissues. We tested for the differential expression of miRNAs across post-conception age and by IUS using linear models with covariate adjustment. We tested the IUS-associated miRNAs for association with their gene expression targets using pair-wise inverse correlation. Using our mouse model, we investigated the persistence of the IUS-associated miRNA signature using RT-PCR from the lungs of mouse pups with and without IUS at postnatal day 14. MiRNAs were then tested for association with asthma and exacerbations using whole blood gene expression profiles from Asthma BRIDGE. Results: Five miRNAs were differentially expressed across post-conception age (adjusted p < 0.0002) including two that were differentially expressed by IUS exposure in human fetal lung (p < 0.05). MiR-15a was differentially expressed by post-conception age (p = 0.00002), IUS exposure in human fetal lung (p = 0.005), and in the post-natal mouse lung (p = 0.01). MiR-15a was also associated with the in utero expression of GSDMB (adjusted p = 0.0002), a known childhood asthma gene and with asthma exacerbations (p = 0.0009) in Asthma BRIDGE. Thus, miR-15a is expressed during human lung development, is impacted by IUS exposure, regulates the intrauterine expression of asthma genes, and is associated with asthma severity. Conclusions: These results provide evidence for the role of miR-15a in the fetal origin of asthma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maternal and Child Health: Advances in Translational Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Using Behavioral Nudges to Engage Pregnant Women in a Smoking Cessation Trial: An Online Field Quasi-Experiment
Healthcare 2020, 8(4), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8040531 - 02 Dec 2020
Abstract
Evidence shows that behavioral nudges could be used to enhance enrollment rates in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) by addressing enrollment barriers, but research on this topic is limited. We conducted an online field quasi-experiment with separate pretest (October 2017–January 2018) and posttest (February–May [...] Read more.
Evidence shows that behavioral nudges could be used to enhance enrollment rates in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) by addressing enrollment barriers, but research on this topic is limited. We conducted an online field quasi-experiment with separate pretest (October 2017–January 2018) and posttest (February–May 2018) samples designed to examine the use of behavioral nudges to engage pregnant smokers in a couple-focused smoking cessation RCT relying on online enrollment through paid Facebook ads and a dedicated website, by reporting aggregate Facebook ads and Google Analytics data. The Facebook ads pretest conversion rate of 1.6% doubled and reached 3.41% in the posttest period. The pretest eligibility assessment rate decreased from 10.3% to 6.46%, but registered a relative increase of approximately 50% in the posttest period, as opposed to the pretest. The number of women who signed the informed consent in the posttest period has increased with 63%, from a proportion of 8.54% in the pretest to 11.73% in the posttest period. These findings might lend support to integrating behavioral nudges in the recruitment and enrollment materials of RCTs to boost enrollment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maternal and Child Health: Advances in Translational Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Oral Status in Pregnant Women from Post-Industrial Areas of Upper Silesia in Reference to Occurrence of: Preterm Labors, Low Birth Weight and Type of Labor
Healthcare 2020, 8(4), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8040528 - 01 Dec 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Increased levels of steroid hormones, action of local irritants and the lack of proper hygiene measures are of great importance in the development of dental caries, gingivitis and inflammation of the periodontal area in pregnant women. The aim of the study was to [...] Read more.
Increased levels of steroid hormones, action of local irritants and the lack of proper hygiene measures are of great importance in the development of dental caries, gingivitis and inflammation of the periodontal area in pregnant women. The aim of the study was to evaluate the state of oral hygiene and the periodontal area is such a population and assess the effectiveness of performed hygiene treatments and analyse changes in hygiene habits after oral hygiene instructions. The study was performed in two parts on a group of 50 pregnant women. The first part took place between the 14th and 17th week of pregnancy. The control study was conducted between the 27th and 30th week of pregnancy. Patients were subjected to a dental examination. Poor oral hygiene was observed among the examined patients. After the first examination, oral hygiene instruction was provided to 25 randomly selected pregnant patients. The effect of periodontal diseases on the time of labor was observed. Oral hygiene instructions significantly affected the state of the periodontal area of pregnant women for whom it was performed. It was confirmed that the advancement of pregnancy influences deterioration of the periodontium and also term of childbirth. Undoubtedly, pregnant women receive insufficient dental care. Priority should be given to dental care education of for pregnant women and alleviating the impact of oral diseases on the organism of a pregnant woman. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maternal and Child Health: Advances in Translational Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Acceptability and Feasibility of a Sedentary Behavior Reduction Program during Pregnancy: A Semi-Experimental Study
Healthcare 2020, 8(4), 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8040439 - 29 Oct 2020
Abstract
Physical activity (PA) during pregnancy is associated with maternal benefits. Therefore, innovative strategies that promote PA are needed. This study investigated the acceptability and feasibility of a sedentary behavior (SB) reduction program during pregnancy. The study employed a semi-experimental research design using historical [...] Read more.
Physical activity (PA) during pregnancy is associated with maternal benefits. Therefore, innovative strategies that promote PA are needed. This study investigated the acceptability and feasibility of a sedentary behavior (SB) reduction program during pregnancy. The study employed a semi-experimental research design using historical control subjects. The intervention group program consisted of individual face-to-face guidance, automatic alerts during SB from wearable devices, and self-monitoring of SB patterns, from 20 gestation weeks to delivery. PA and SB, assessed using a wearable device, were compared with those of the control group at 24–27 (T1) and 32–35 (T2) weeks of gestation. In 56 women, the mean wearing time was 90.2 days in the intervention phase. The response rate to automatic SB alerts was 55.5% at T1 and 63.0% at T2. Self-monitoring more than twice or thrice a week was 77.8% at T1 and 59.3% at T2. There was no significant difference in the cumulative SB time at T2 between the two groups (F = 2.31, p = 0.132). This program appears to be acceptable and feasible for pregnant women; however, SB reduction effect of the intervention remains unclear. Improvements to increase the response rate to automatic SB alerts and the frequency of self-monitoring are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maternal and Child Health: Advances in Translational Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Relationship between Clinical Parameters and Chromosomal Microarray Data in Infants with Developmental Delay
Healthcare 2020, 8(3), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8030305 - 27 Aug 2020
Abstract
Chromosomal microarray (CMA) is considered a first-tier test for genetic analysis as it can be used to examine gene copy number variations (CNVs) throughout the entire genome, with enhanced sensitivity for detecting submicroscopic deletions and duplications. However, its cost can represent a heavy [...] Read more.
Chromosomal microarray (CMA) is considered a first-tier test for genetic analysis as it can be used to examine gene copy number variations (CNVs) throughout the entire genome, with enhanced sensitivity for detecting submicroscopic deletions and duplications. However, its cost can represent a heavy burden. Moreover, the diagnostic yield of CMA in infants with developmental delay (DD) was reported to be less than 10%. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the relationship between CMA results and clinical features and risk factors of DD. The study included 59 infants with DD who were recruited between August 2019 and February 2020 during a visit to the outpatient clinic of a rehabilitation department. We reviewed the clinical records of the infants regarding gender, age, body weight at birth, delivery method, brain imaging data, perinatal history, and parent-related clinical parameters, such as mother and father age at birth. The infants were categorized according to CMA results, and differences in clinical parameters were evaluated. Except for brain anomalies, there was no statistically significant differences between infants who had pathogenic and variants of unknown significance (VOUS)-likely pathogenic CNVs groups compared with those within the VOUS-likely no sub-classification, VOUS-likely benign, benign, and normal CNVs groups. The incidence of brain anomalies was significantly higher within infants with pathogenic and VOUS-likely pathogenic CNVs groups (p < 0.05). Our study suggests that infants with DD who present dysmorphism or brain anomaly may benefit from early CMA analysis, for adequate diagnosis and timely treatment. Further studies are warranted to confirm the relationship between DD clinical parameters and CMA results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maternal and Child Health: Advances in Translational Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Reasons for Increased Caesarean Section Rate in Vietnam: A Qualitative Study among Vietnamese Mothers and Health Care Professionals
Healthcare 2020, 8(1), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8010041 - 21 Feb 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
The Caesarean section rate in urban Vietnam is 43% in 2014, which is more than twice the recommended rate (10%–15%) by the World Health Organization. This qualitative study aims to identify the perceptions of pregnant mothers and health care professionals on the medical [...] Read more.
The Caesarean section rate in urban Vietnam is 43% in 2014, which is more than twice the recommended rate (10%–15%) by the World Health Organization. This qualitative study aims to identify the perceptions of pregnant mothers and health care professionals on the medical and social factors related to the increased Caesarean section rate in Vietnam. A qualitative descriptive study was conducted among pregnant mothers and healthcare professionals at two public hospitals in Nha Trang city. A content analysis was adopted in order to identify social and medical factors. As a result, 29 pregnant women and 19 health care professionals were invited to participate in the qualitative interviews. Private interviews were conducted with 10 women who wished to have a Caesarean section, and the others participated in focus group interviews. The main themes of the social factors were ‘request for Caesarean section,’ ‘mental strain of obstetricians,’ and ‘decision-making process.’ To conclude, this qualitative study suggests that there were unnecessary caesarean sections without a clear medical indication, which were requested by women and family members. Psychological fear occurred among women and family, and doctors were the main determinants for driving the requests for Caesarean section, which implies that education and emotional encouragement is necessary by midwives. In addition, a multi-faced approach including a mandatory reporting system in clinical fields and involving family members in antenatal education is important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maternal and Child Health: Advances in Translational Research)
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