Magee-Womens to Investigate Preterm Births

Article excerpt

Researchers with the University of Pittsburgh-affiliated Magee- Womens Research Institute will investigate how genetic and environmental factors such as nutrition and inflammation might factor into the racial disparity in preterm births, or births prior to 37 weeks gestation.

A five-year, $2.8 million study paid for by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development will enroll 1,200 participants early in pregnancy to discern the interrelationship of dietary factors, genetics and infection-related inflammation that are known to predispose women to preterm births, the university said today.

The study will try to determine whether poor nutrition before conception and during pregnancy increases risk for preterm births, how nutrition affects the risk of inflammation and the roles of genetic mutations and race, which might predispose women to infection.

Preterm birth is a complex condition, Simhan said, and the study of nutritional status and genetics is unique.

"We know, for instance, that African-American women are much more likely than white women to have genetic mutations that are associated with infection-related preterm birth," said Dr. Hyagriv Simhan, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and principal investigator for the study.

Black women report higher intakes of calories, fat and vitamin C during pregnancy, while white women consume increased amounts of protein, folate and fiber, the university said. …