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Perinatal Health


DOR investigators have conducted extensive research and made important contributions to the knowledge of how in-utero and early-life exposures affect the risk​ of preterm delivery, abnormal birthweight, birth defects, miscarriage, SIDS, and childhood autism, asthma and obesity. In-utero exposures include environmental factors (including bisphenol-A [BPA] and other endocrine-disrupting chemicals [EDCs], and electromagnetic fields), maternal health conditions during pregnancy (including gestational diabetes, abnormal weight gain, hypertension, pre-eclampsia, and infection), lifestyle (including smoking, alcohol, caffeine intake, diet, and physical activity), and psychosocial factors (depression and stress), as well as lactation and infant feeding. 

The safety of medication use during pregnancy has also been one of the research focuses; DOR investigators have been involved in a Food and Drug Administration-sponsored multiple institutional network to examine the safety of medication use in pregnancy (the MEPREP project). 

Investigators are conducting randomized controlled trials on lifestyle interventions to manage maternal weight gain during pregnancy and evaluate its effect on fetal and infant growth.

Researchers used the robust Kaiser Permanente datasets maintained by the Division of Research to develop an innovative online calculator that helps to determine whether preterm and newborn babies are at risk of sepsis, a life-threatening systemic infection. The calculator is used by doctors in Kaiser Permanente's neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and at health care systems across the nation.​