Research Topic

Maternal-Perinatal Risk and Children-Adolescent Health

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Over the last few years Maternal Mortality (MM), Adolescent Pregnancy (AP), Low Birth Weight (LBW) and Youth Violence (YV) have continued to pose major public health problems in developing countries. Preeclampsia (PE) is the first cause of MM and LBW, associated with Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) ...

Over the last few years Maternal Mortality (MM), Adolescent Pregnancy (AP), Low Birth Weight (LBW) and Youth Violence (YV) have continued to pose major public health problems in developing countries. Preeclampsia (PE) is the first cause of MM and LBW, associated with Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) and cognitive deficiency (CD). In addition, there is a linear association between MM, PE and AP, between PE, LBW and IUGR, as well as CD and YV. More recently, a linear relationship between materno-perinatal risk factors, IUGR and CD has also been demonstrated.

The Colombian peace process, for example, was a great initiative for our society, however, the rural criminality, the sexual violence, the interpersonal violence and the intrafamilial violence, are increasing year by year, not only in Colombia but also worldwide. Studies have shown that Cali, a Colombian city that we are currently based, was the city with the highest incidence of PE in Colombia for decades and currently the second most violent city in the world.

To make matters worse, AP has also increased over the past few years - from 18%, in 1985, to 22%, in 2015, due to the so-called ‘’poverty cycle’’. Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of teen pregnancy and, according to literature, more than 60% of young, unmarried mothers live in households that qualify as being in poverty. Our team has suggested a novel theory (BH Theory) that is currently under evaluation in ten different research projects, half in public universities and half in private universities, and they will be completed later this year.

This innovative scientific research is conducted by six different countries (Canada, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Spain, USA), and is supported by fifteen recognized universities in developing and developed countries. Three novel risk factors associated with preeclampsia risk (prenatal biopsychosocial risk, stress and chronic infections) were identified in this project, and these are fully recognized within the scientific literature.

As part of this endeavor, we aim to better understand why levels of rural criminality and sexual and interpersonal violence increase every year nationwide, as well as worldwide, regardless of the ongoing peace process plan.

We also intend to demonstrate if there is any interdependence between youth violence and unexpected or not accepted pregnancies in adolescence. This Research Topic welcomes promising new intervention programs to prevent all types of youth violence and its associated consequences, as well as suggestions for research on additional strategies to better understand its causes. Biomedical research on the onset of puberty may provide some solutions, but the majority of the answers must come from the social and behavioral sciences.


Keywords: adolescent pregnancy, preeclampsia, iugr, low birthweight, child violence


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