The Slone Epidemiology Center has studied factors in pregnancy that may be related to the health of newborns for over 37 years. The Pregnancy Health Interview study focuses on the safety and risks of a wide range of environmental exposures (primarily medications). The outcomes of primary interest include birth defects and complications of pregnancy such as prematurity and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

This multicenter case-control study is currently conducted in the areas surrounding Nashville, Philadelphia and San Diego; the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Southern New Hampshire; and portions of New York State. Infants with problems and a sample of healthy infants without birth problems are identified through special arrangements with either state birth defect registries or through regular contact with approximately 28 participating institutions. Mothers of these infants are invited to take part in a telephone interview conducted by trained nurse-interviewers. The interview includes questions on medical history, previous pregnancies, nutrition, occupation, health behaviors, and smoking, as well as detailed questions on medication use and vaccines received in the period prior to conception through the entire pregnancy. To date, over 50,000 women have been interviewed, making this one of the largest studies of its kind.

Sources of Funding:

  • National Institutes of Health (NICHD, NHLBI, NIOSH, NIEHS)
  • MCH Research Grants Program
  • Glaxo-Smith Kline, Sanofi Pasteur, Novartis Vaccine and Diagnostics, other manufacturers
  • FDA Cooperative Agreement
  • Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Study Period:

1976 – Present

Current Data File:

Approximately 50,000 subjects

Associated Studies:

  • Genetic and Non-genetic Risk for Hirschsprung’s Disease
  • Phthalates in Medications and Risk of Male Genital Defects
  • Risk Factors for Folic Acid-resistant Spina Bifida
  • Teratogenicity of Drugs Most Commonly Used in Pregnancy
  • Vaccines And Medications in Pregnancy Surveillance System (VAMPSS)

– H1N1 and Seasonal Influenza Vaccines and Antiviral Medications in Pregnancy
– Asthma Medications in Pregnancy — A Demonstration Project
– Menveo Meningococcal Vaccine in Pregnancy