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Publications (6)11.85 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The outcome of pregnancy can be influenced by several risk factors. Women who are informed about these risks during pre-conception counselling (PCC) have an opportunity to take preventive measures in time. Several studies have shown that high-risk populations have a high prevalence of such risk factors. However, prevalence in the general population, which is assumed to be low risk, is largely unknown. We therefore provided a systematic programme of PCC for the general population and studied the prevalence of risk factors using the risk-assessment questionnaire which was part of the PCC. None of the couples reported no risk factors at all and only 2% of the couples reported risk factors for which written information was considered to be sufficient. Therefore, 98% of all couples reported one or more risk factors for which at least personal counselling by a general practitioner (GP) was indicated. Many of these factors were related to an unhealthy lifestyle. Women with a low level of education reported more risk factors than women with a high level of education. There is a great need for PCC as shown by the fact that almost all couples reported risk factors for which personal counselling was indicated. Pre-conception counselling may reduce the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome by enabling couples to avoid these risks. PCC can be provided by GPs, who have the necessary medical knowledge and background information to counsel couples who wish to have a baby.
    Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 06/2008; 22(3):280-7. · 2.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Information about risk factors and preventive measures given before conception is estimated to prevent 15-35% of adverse pregnancy outcomes. We aimed to identify women's motives for not responding to an invitation for preconception counseling (PCC) from their general practitioner. A purposive sample of 11 women who did not respond to an invitation for PCC and who became pregnant within 1 year was interviewed. Three key themes influencing nonresponse emerged from the data: perceived knowledge, perceived lack of risk and a misunderstanding of the aim of PCC. For successful future implementation of PCC, a more tailored approach may be necessary for certain (groups of) women, addressing the reasons why women do not consider themselves part of the target group for PCC.
    Community Genetics 02/2008; 11(3):166-70. · 1.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies suggest that the basis for adverse pregnancy outcomes is often established early in pregnancy, during organogenesis. It is therefore important to take preventive action as early as possible, preferably before pregnancy. Because most adverse pregnancy outcomes occur in women who are unaware of being at risk, we conducted a randomized controlled trial, "Parents to Be." With this study, we sought to assess the extent to which women who have participated in preconception counseling (PCC) increase their knowledge on pregnancy-related risk factors and preventive measures and change their behavior before and during pregnancy and to provide an overview of adverse pregnancy outcomes among such women. Knowledge: Women aged 18-40 who attended PCC and women who received standard care were matched on previous pregnancy, time since last pregnancy, age, country of birth, and educational achievement. They were sent a questionnaire on knowledge about pregnancy-related risk factors and preventive measures. Behavior: Data on pregnancies and outcomes were collected. Two months after pregnancy, a questionnaire was sent regarding behavior before and during pregnancy. Knowledge of women who received PCC (81.5%; n=211) exceeded that of women who did not (76.9%; n=422). Levels of knowledge in women who were not yet pregnant after PCC were comparable to those in women who became pregnant after PCC, indicating that, even before pregnancy, PCC increased knowledge in women contemplating pregnancy. After PCC, significantly more women started using folic acid before pregnancy (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 4.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.81-8.66) and reduced alcohol use during the first 3 months of pregnancy (adjusted OR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.08-2.97). Among the group receiving standard care, about 20% of all pregnancies ended in an adverse outcome; in the group with PCC this was 16% (OR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.48-1.22). After PCC, women have more knowledge about essential items. Importantly, they gained this greater knowledge before pregnancy and more women changed their behavior to reduce adverse pregnancy outcomes.
    Women s Health Issues 01/2008; 18(6 Suppl):S117-25. · 1.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To maximise the potential for reducing the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, preconception counselling (PCC) is used to inform couples contemplating pregnancy about general and personal risk factors. Many initiatives have been developed to provide PCC, but none offers it routinely in a presumed low-risk population. The objective of the study was to investigate the extent to which women contemplating pregnancy can be reached when a PCC programme is routinely offered by general practitioners (GPs). 30 GPs actively offered PCC to all women aged 18 to 40 over a three-year period. GPs reviewed lists of these women and excluded women with adverse social circumstances. The remaining women received an invitation for PCC. They were requested to indicate whether they were interested in PCC, and if so, when they were contemplating pregnancy. Those both interested and contemplating pregnancy within one year were invited for PCC. All pregnancies occurring within one year of an invitation were monitored. Response rates and percentages of pregnancies preceded by an invitation or actual attendance to PCC were calculated. Overall, 72-75% of the interested responders, who returned the risk-assessment questionnaire (80%), actually attended PCC. However, the GPs excluded a large number of women. In 2002 27% of all pregnancies occurred in the group of women who had been interested and had indicated that they hoped to get pregnant within one year. Another 33% of the pregnancies occurred in the group of women who had been excluded, 13% in the group who had not responded, and 14% in the group who had not been interested. A quarter of the women who became pregnant in the year after the invitation were reached in time. In order to increase this number, methods should be developed to decrease the exclusion of women by the GPs and to increase women's response.
    BMC Family Practice 02/2006; 7:41. · 1.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Preconception counselling (PCC) can reduce adverse pregnancy outcome by addressing risk factors prior to pregnancy. This study explores whether anxiety is induced in women either by the offer of PCC or by participation with GP-initiated PCC. Randomised trial of usual care versus GP-initiated PCC for women aged 18-40, in 54 GP practices in the Netherlands. Women completed the six-item Spielberger State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) before PCC (STAI-1) and after (STAI-2). After pregnancy women completed a STAI focusing on the first trimester of pregnancy (STAI-3). The mean STAI-1-score (n = 466) was 36.4 (95% CI 35.4-37.3). Following PCC there was an average decrease of 3.6 points in anxiety-levels (95% CI, 2.4-4.8). Mean scores of the STAI-3 were 38.5 (95% CI 37.7-39.3) in the control group (n = 1090) and 38.7 (95% CI 37.9-39.5) in the intervention group (n = 1186). PCC from one's own GP reduced anxiety after participation, without leading to an increase in anxiety among the intervention group during pregnancy. We therefore conclude that GPs can offer PCC to the general population without fear of causing anxiety.
    BMC Family Practice 02/2006; 7:66. · 1.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Serrated adenomas, hyperplastic polyps, and admixed hyperplastic/adenomatous polyps form a distinct group of colorectal tumors, the molecular genetic basis of which is still poorly understood. We describe a novel mouse model for serrated adenomas and mixed polyposis, here referred to as Sad (serrated adenomas), caused by a spontaneously risen splice site mutation in the murine Smad4 gene. The Sad chromosomal region was identified by genetic linkage and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) analysis. Subsequently, several candidate genes were investigated by expression and mutation analysis. By use of genetic linkage and LOH analysis, we mapped the Sad candidate to mouse chromosome 18, 44-48 cM, syntenic to human chromosome band 18q21. Within this chromosomal interval, the Smad2, Smad4, and Smad7 genes were analyzed for the presence of a disease-causing mutation in affected animals. A single nucleotide (nt) deletion was identified in the intron 5/exon 6 splice acceptor site of the Smad4 gene. The single base deletion results in a frameshift and an early termination codon through activation of a cryptic splice site 4 nt downstream in exon 6. The resulting mRNA is unstable, and the Sad mutation is thus likely to represent a null allele. Identification of a Smad4 mutation in the Sad mouse model provides further support for the involvement of the Smad genes, and thus the TGFB pathway, in the serrated/hyperplastic route to colorectal cancer.
    Genes Chromosomes and Cancer 04/2003; 36(3):273-82. · 3.55 Impact Factor