Research Group for Pregnancy, Fetal Development and Birth

CONIMPREG – Early lifecourse development

Conception-implantation and later development – A longitudinal study from preconception to early childhood: how conception, implantation and fetal growth velocity determine pregnancy duration and child development, and how parental and environmental factors modify these elements for a lifecourse.

Main content

Life-style diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity are growing into a global epidemic, and therefore a prioritized agenda for the World Health Organization. Recently, it has become increasingly evident that the life courses of health and disease are already conditioned during fetal development. Maternal health and nutrition during the peri-conception period are presumed to influence pregnancy development and the later health of the child. Providing evidence of how maternal body composition, sleep and physical activity influences intrauterine development will constitute the foundation for advocating specific and simple advice on lifestyle that can condition a healthier lifecourse both for the expected child, and the life of the mother.

CONIMPREG is a composite research program that began in 2014. The goal is to follow 370 women (and their partners) from before pregnancy until birth. With follow-up of the children at the age of 5 years. 

Before conception, physical activity and sleep are measured, nutrition assessed, body proportion and composition measured, and specimens are collected from blood, saliva, hair, and nail. Some of the assessments are repeated thrice during pregnancy and at birth when placental biopsies, cord blood, cord biopsy, neonatal saliva, hair, and nail are added. Ovulation and implantation are monitored by daily urine samples until positive pregnancy test. Fetal development is monitored during pregnancy using ultrasound biometry and circulation assessment.

In addition to provide physical and nutritional information from the parents, the vitamin status and mono-carbon metabolites are followed, with a genome-wide assessment including epigenetics, xenobiotics and proteomic analysis of urine after conception. 

The Conimpreg project collaborates with the Bergen Sleep and Chronobiology Network at the Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care