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1.  Porphyromonas Gingivalis and E-coli Induce Different Cytokine Production Patterns in Pregnant Women 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86355.
Pregnant individuals of many species, including humans, are more sensitive to various bacteria or their products as compared with non-pregnant individuals. Pregnant individuals also respond differently to different bacteria or their products. Therefore, in the present study, we evaluated whether the increased sensitivity of pregnant women to bacterial products and their heterogeneous response to different bacteria was associated with differences in whole blood cytokine production upon stimulation with bacteria or their products.
Blood samples were taken from healthy pregnant and age-matched non-pregnant women and ex vivo stimulated with bacteria or LPS from Porphyromonas Gingivalis (Pg) or E-coli for 24 hrs. TNFα, IL-1ß, IL-6, IL-12 and IL-10 were measured using a multiplex Luminex system.
We observed a generally lower cytokine production after stimulation with Pg bacteria or it’s LPS as compared with E-coli bacteria. However, there was also an effect of pregnancy upon cytokine production: in pregnant women the production of IL-6 upon Pg stimulation was decreased as compared with non-pregnant women. After stimulation with E-coli, the production of IL-12 and TNFα was decreased in pregnant women as compared with non-pregnant women.
Our results showed that cytokine production upon bacterial stimulation of whole blood differed between pregnant and non-pregnant women, showing that the increased sensitivity of pregnant women may be due to differences in cytokine production. Moreover, pregnancy also affected whole blood cytokine production upon Pg or E-coli stimulation differently. Thus, the different responses of pregnant women to different bacteria or their products may result from variations in cytokine production.
PMCID: PMC3899230  PMID: 24466049
2.  Prevalence and predictors of over-the-counter medication use among pregnant women: a cross-sectional study in the Netherlands 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:185.
Over-the-counter-medication (OTC-medication) use during pregnancy can be potentially harmful for the fetus. To successfully counsel the patient it is important to know if the patient is at risk. In this study possible predictors for OTC-medication use were identified and a model was designed to predict OTC-medication use during pregnancy.
We performed a post-hoc analysis on data collected for a clustered clinical trial to study a screening strategy for Query fever. Pregnant women under supervision of a midwife were eligible for inclusion. These women filled out questionnaires during their pregnancy and post-partum. These questionnaires were used to determine the prevalence and to select possible predictors for OTC-medication use. These predictors were included in a prediction model using multivariate analysis. The discrimination and calibration of the model were assessed with Receiver Operating Characteristic analysis and the Hosmer and Lemeshow test.
Of the 1348 women enrolling in the clustered clinical trial, we included 1246 women in this analysis. The prevalence of OTC-medication use was 12.5%. The predictors for OTC-medication use in our cohort were: nulliparity, use of prescription medication, the presence of a comorbidity, Body Mass Index between 26 and 30 kg/m2 and General Practitioner visits. These predictors were used to design a prediction model for OTC-medication use. The area under the Receiver Operating Characteristic-curve of the prediction model was 0.667 (95% CI 0.620-0.714 P<0.001) and the predictive probabilities ranged from 6.6% to 57.4%. The Hosmer and Lemeshow goodness-of-fit test indicated good calibration of the model (P = 0.640).
It is possible to indicate women at risk for OTC-medication use during pregnancy, using five maternal characteristics that independently contribute to the prediction model. The predictors are easy to estimate and the model is easy to implement in daily practice.
PMCID: PMC3662163  PMID: 23452432
OTC-medication; Pregnancy; The Netherlands; Epidemiology; Prediction model
3.  Cost-effectiveness of a screening strategy for Q fever among pregnant women in risk areas: a clustered randomized controlled trial 
BMC Women's Health  2010;10:32.
In The Netherlands the largest human Q fever outbreak ever reported in the literature is currently ongoing with more than 2300 notified cases in 2009. Pregnant women are particularly at risk as Q fever during pregnancy may cause maternal and obstetric complications. Since the majority of infected pregnant women are asymptomatic, a screening strategy might be of great value to reduce Q fever related complications. We designed a trial to assess the (cost-)effectiveness of a screening program for Q fever in pregnant women living in risks areas in The Netherlands.
We will conduct a clustered randomized controlled trial in which primary care midwife centres in Q fever risk areas are randomized to recruit pregnant women for either the control group or the intervention group. In both groups a blood sample is taken around 20 weeks postmenstrual age. In the intervention group, this sample is immediately analyzed by indirect immunofluorescence assay for detection of IgG and IgM antibodies using a sensitive cut-off level of 1:32. In case of an active Q fever infection, antibiotic treatment is recommended and serological follow up is performed. In the control group, serum is frozen for analysis after delivery. The primary endpoint is a maternal (chronic Q fever or reactivation) or obstetric complication (low birth weight, preterm delivery or fetal death) in Q fever positive women. Secondary aims pertain to the course of infection in pregnant women, diagnostic accuracy of laboratory tests used for screening, histo-pathological abnormalities of the placenta of Q fever positive women, side effects of therapy, and costs. The analysis will be according to the intention-to-screen principle, and cost-effectiveness analysis will be performed by comparing the direct and indirect costs between the intervention and control group.
With this study we aim to provide insight into the balance of risks of undetected and detected Q fever during pregnancy.
Trial registration, protocol record NL30340.042.09.
PMCID: PMC2987891  PMID: 21040534
4.  The diagnostic strength of the 24-h pad test for self-reported symptoms of urinary incontinence in pregnancy and after childbirth 
The clinical impact of incontinence in pregnancy and after childbirth is growing because some studies report the efficacy of physiotherapy in pregnancy and because obstetric choices are supposed to have significant impact on post-reproductive urinary function (Goldberg et al. in Am J Obstet Gynecol 188:1447–1450, 2003). Thus, the need for objective measurement of urinary incontinence in pregnancy is growing. Data on pad testing in pregnancy are lacking. We assessed the clinical relevance of the 24-h pad test during pregnancy and after childbirth, compared with data on self-reported symptoms of urinary incontinence and visual analogue score. According to the receiver operating characteristic curve, the diagnostic value of pad testing for measuring (severity of) self-reported incontinence during pregnancy is not of clinical relevance. However, for the purposes of research, pad tests, combined with subjective/qualitative considerations, play a critical role in allowing comparisons across studies, quantifying the amount of urine loss and establishing a measure of severity.
PMCID: PMC2259253  PMID: 17928932
Pad test; Urinary incontinence; Pregnancy; Childbirth; Diagnostic strength
5.  Induction of labour versus expectant monitoring in women with pregnancy induced hypertension or mild preeclampsia at term: the HYPITAT trial 
Hypertensive disorders, i.e. pregnancy induced hypertension and preeclampsia, complicate 10 to15% of all pregnancies at term and are a major cause of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. The only causal treatment is delivery. In case of preterm pregnancies conservative management is advocated if the risks for mother and child remain acceptable. In contrast, there is no consensus on how to manage mild hypertensive disease in pregnancies at term. Induction of labour might prevent maternal and neonatal complications at the expense of increased instrumental vaginal delivery rates and caesarean section rates.
Women with a pregnancy complicated by pregnancy induced hypertension or mild preeclampsia at a gestational age between 36+0 and 41+0 weeks will be asked to participate in a multi-centre randomised controlled trial. Women will be randomised to either induction of labour or expectant management for spontaneous delivery. The primary outcome of this study is severe maternal morbidity, which can be complicated by maternal mortality in rare cases. Secondary outcome measures are neonatal mortality and morbidity, caesarean and vaginal instrumental delivery rates, maternal quality of life and costs. Analysis will be by intention to treat. In total, 720 pregnant women have to be randomised to show a reduction in severe maternal complications of hypertensive disease from 12 to 6%.
This trial will provide evidence as to whether or not induction of labour in women with pregnancy induced hypertension or mild preeclampsia (nearly) at term is an effective treatment to prevent severe maternal complications.
Trial Registration
The protocol is registered in the clinical trial register number ISRCTN08132825.
PMCID: PMC1950708  PMID: 17662114

Results 1-5 (5)