Maternal risk factors for a child’s health prior to and during pregnancy (results of long-term cohort monitoring in Vologda region)

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Yu.Е. Shmatova, I.N. Razvarina, А.N. Gordievskaya


Vologda Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 56A Gorky Str., Vologda, 160014, Russian Federation


The work presents the results of the 26-year monitoring with its focus on children’s health. Pre-school children living in the Vologda region were selected as a research object. The aim was to assess health risks for children caused by certain maternal factors and conditions. The study was accomplished as an intra-cohort analysis of data on 1454 children from five cohorts (born in 1998, 2001, 2004, 2014 and 2020) by calculating a relative risk rate.

Negative effects produced by sociodemographic, socioeconomic and environmental conditions as well as maternal harmful occupational factors during pregnancy are significant health risk factors for a child. It is true not only for the neonatal period but also during pre-school years. Such health-related factors as stillbirths in case history, complications of a present pregnancy (up-to-date reproductive technologies being applied to achieve it, eclampsia, multiple pregnancy, dangerous fetus position, prematurity, postmaturity, anemia, edemas, protein in urine) and birth (rapid labor, use of vacuum extraction) do the most severe damage to a child’s health at birth and their influence persists as a child grows. Other significant risk factors that influence children’s health in their pre-school years include diseases of the genitourinary and endocrine systems diagnosed in a mother prior to pregnancy; a mother being single; low incomes; electromagnetic radiation at a place where a family lives; harmful working conditions at a mother’s workplace (gases in workplace air, work on a conveyor belt, radiation exposure). A mother’s young age is also a health risk factor for a fetus during the prenatal period but its influence reduces as a child grows. In contrast, if a mother is older than 40, this factor protects a child’s health during pregnancy but increases likelihood of retarded neuropsychic development by the school age (due to a mother’s low health potential).

Overwhelming majority of health risk factors we detected in this study are quite manageable. Our results can be used in creating programs aimed at preserving health of a mother and a child at any level, from individual to national one.

health risks for children, biomedical, sociodemographic, socioeconomic, and environmental factors and conditions, harmful working conditions, a child’s health group, prevalence of diseases, dispensary observation and record keeping
Shmatova Yu.Е., Razvarina I.N., Gordievskaya А.N. Maternal risk factors for a child’s health prior to and during pregnancy (results of long-term cohort monitoring in Vologda region). Health Risk Analysis, 2022, no. 3, pp. 143–159. DOI: 10.21668/health.risk/2022.3.14.eng
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