A review of maternal prenatal exposures to environmental chemicals and psychosocial stressors-implications for research on perinatal outcomes in the ECHO program

J Perinatol. 2020 Jan;40(1):10-24. doi: 10.1038/s41372-019-0510-y. Epub 2019 Oct 15.


Exposures to environmental chemicals and psychosocial stressors during pregnancy have been individually associated with adverse perinatal outcomes related to birthweight and gestational age, but are not often considered in combination. We review types of psychosocial stressors and instruments used to assess them and classes of environmental chemical exposures that are known to adversely impact perinatal outcomes, and identify studies relevant studies. We discuss the National Institutes of Health's Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program that has combined existing longitudinal cohorts that include more than 50,000 children across the U.S. We describe future opportunities for investigators to use this important new resource for addressing relevant and critical research questions to maternal health. Of the 84 cohorts in ECHO, 38 collected data on environmental chemicals and psychosocial stressors and perinatal outcomes. The diverse ECHO pregnancy cohorts provide capacity to compare regions with distinct place-based environmental and social stressors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Birth Weight
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Pollution*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Pregnancy / drug effects
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Racism / psychology
  • Social Class
  • Stress, Psychological*


  • Biomarkers

Grant support