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Maternal factors during pregnancy influencing maternal, fetal and childhood outcomes

Guest edited by: Dr Louis Muglia, Professor Stephen Tong, Professor Susan Ozanne and Professor Katrien Benhalima.

maternal factors (1)

A myriad of maternal factors (including pre-existing conditions, environmental exposures, and genetic predisposition) are known to influence pregnancy, childbirth, and the health of both the mother and her child during pregnancy and long after birth. Collectively, these issues represent a serious and growing burden on expectant mothers and their children; for example, in the United States, gestational diabetes is thought to affect between 2 and 10% of mothers each year (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and around 1 in 160 babies are stillborn (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Understanding how these factors can influence outcomes for both mother and child, as well as identifying novel factors that mediate these effects, is crucial in addressing this global problem. BMC Medicine is pleased to launch a Collection titled ‘Maternal factors during pregnancy influencing maternal, fetal and childhood outcomes’, that welcomes outstanding contributions in these fields. We are particularly interested in papers that fall under the following topics:

Maternal factors

  • Pre-existing medical conditions (for example polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes and endometriosis)
  • Maternal stress and mental health (including socio-economic factors, stigmas)
  • Environmental exposures (for example smoking, alcohol and pollution)
  • Obesity/high BMI
  • Microbiota
  • Breastfeeding
  • Genetics/epigenetics
  • Nutrition (including macronutrients and essential micronutrients)


  • Fetal outcomes in pregnancy (for example stillbirth, preterm birth, normal and disordered fetal growth and cognitive development)
  • Childhood outcomes following fetal and maternal complications during pregnancy (for example childhood obesity, cardiovascular disease risk, congenital disorders and cognitive development)
  • Maternal outcomes in pregnancy (pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, blood pressure and maternal hemorrhage)
  • Maternal and offspring benefits of breastfeeding
  • Maternal risk of developing diseases in later life (for example type 2 diabetes, hypertension and gestational diabetes risk in subsequent pregnancies)
  • How pregnancy can affect maternal pre-existing/co-existing medical conditions

BMC Medicine encourages submissions of front matter articles and original research including randomised clinical trials (phase I, I/II, II and III as well as positive or negative trials), epidemiological studies (retrospective or prospective), systematic and umbrella reviews, medical imaging, medical genomics studies, biomarkers and translational research. We also welcome outstanding mechanistic laboratory studies that provide translational insights.

Please note that we do not consider case reports.

  1. Prenatal maternal tobacco smoking is a predictor of child attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and is associated with offspring telomere length (TL). In this study, we examine the relationship betwe...

    Authors: Meghan P. Howell, Christopher W. Jones, Cade A. Herman, Celia V. Mayne, Camilo Fernandez, Katherine P. Theall, Kyle C. Esteves and Stacy S. Drury
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2022 20:153
  2. Preterm birth is defined as live birth before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy, and it is a major problem worldwide. The molecular mechanisms that lead to onset of spontaneous preterm birth are incompletely und...

    Authors: Heli Tiensuu, Antti M. Haapalainen, Pinja Tissarinen, Anu Pasanen, Tomi A. Määttä, Johanna M. Huusko, Steffen Ohlmeier, Ulrich Bergmann, Marja Ojaniemi, Louis J. Muglia, Mikko Hallman and Mika Rämet
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2022 20:141
  3. Obesity in pregnancy and related early-life factors place the offspring at the highest risk of being overweight. Despite convincing evidence on these associations, there is an unmet public health need to ident...

    Authors: Delphina Gomes, Lien Le, Sarah Perschbacher, Nikolaus A. Haas, Heinrich Netz, Uwe Hasbargen, Maria Delius, Kristin Lange, Uta Nennstiel, Adelbert A. Roscher, Ulrich Mansmann and Regina Ensenauer
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2022 20:156
  4. Preterm birth (PTB) is a syndrome resulting from a complex list of underlying causes and factors, and whether these risk factors differ in the context of prior PTB history is less understood. The aim of this s...

    Authors: Aline S. Rocha, Rita de Cássia Ribeiro-Silva, Rosemeire L. Fiaccone, Enny S. Paixao, Ila R. Falcão, Flavia Jôse O. Alves, Natanael J. Silva, Naiá Ortelan, Laura C. Rodrigues, Maria Yury Ichihara, Marcia F. de Almeida and Mauricio L. Barreto
    Citation: BMC Medicine 2022 20:111