When Drs. Vaillancourt and Lafond asked me to write this foreword, I was honored to have the opportunity to introduce this eBook.
Despite the improvements in perinatal and neonatal outcomes with the progress in diagnostic, health care and service and treatment, the perinatal morbidity and mortality observed in conjunction with adverse pregnancy outcomes particularly in the developing countries remain an important health problem. A recent study of the American Health Institute suggests that half of all fetal deaths were caused by a complication during pregnancy. Specifically, a placental dysfunction was the cause in 26% of all fetal deaths, infections in the mother were the causes in 14-19% of cases, while in only 10% of cases, fetal malformations or umbilical cord dysfunctions were the cause. This study suggests that any disturbance during pregnancy including the state of the intrauterine environment during critical periods of organogenesis and fetal growth can permanently modify fetal programming; altering the organ structure and work in an epigenetic way.
In tracking healthy pregnancies through research, immense progress was made in understanding the types of disturbances and complications occur in pregnancy. This ongoing research helps to find innovative ways of minimizing these disturbances and complications, dealing with them when they do occur, ultimately leading to healthy pregnancies and healthier infants.
This eBook, while very comprehensive, remains simple in its approach. It aims at providing readers with an update on the current research on pregnancy disorders that affect fetal development and could lead to disability later in childhood and adulthood. The eBook is very well organized in eight chapters written by experts working in the burgeoning area of integrative physiology that attempts to unite nature and nurture.
In conclusion, I am excited about this eBook, not only because of its superbly organized, illustrated and presented content, but also because I anticipate that it will be useful to all those who have an interest in unraveling the mysteries of life. I believe that better management of pregnancy in the present will have long term wide-scale effects on the global health in our society.
Thierry Lacaze-Masmonteil, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Professor of Pediatrics, University of Ottawa
Regional Medical Lead-Newborn (Champlain Maternal Newborn Regional Program)
Neonatology, Division Head: CHEO-the Ottawa Hospital
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario
401 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1H 8L1