Changes in awareness and knowledge concerning mother-to-child infections among Japanese pregnant women between 2012 and 2018

PLoS One. 2021 Jan 6;16(1):e0244945. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0244945. eCollection 2021.


This study aimed to investigate the long-term changes in awareness of and knowledge about mother-to-child infections across 6 years in Japan. A questionnaire survey was conducted at our facility from October 2012 to January 2018, and the study periods were divided into 4 phases comprising 16 months each. A multiple-choice questionnaire assessed participants' awareness of the following 13 pathogens of mother-to-child infections: cytomegalovirus (CMV), Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), hepatitis B virus, rubella virus, herpes simplex virus, parvovirus B19, hepatitis C virus, human immunodeficiency virus, human T cell leukemia virus type-1, measles virus, varicella-zoster virus, Chlamydia trachomatis, and Treponema pallidum. For the selected four pathogens (i.e., CMV, rubella virus, T. gondii, and parvovirus B19), the questionnaire also evaluated participants' knowledge of transmission routes, the most susceptible time of infection that could yield severe fetal disease during pregnancy, the maximum frequency of fetal infection in cases of maternal infection, and methods to prevent maternal infection. In total, 1433 pregnant Japanese women were included in this study. There was no secular change in awareness of the pathogens concerning mother-to-child infections over time, and we also clarified that the detailed knowledge of the four pathogens of typical mother-to-child infections did not improve. Since knowledge about methods to prevent maternal infection is still insufficient for all pathogens, further advocacy is required to prevent mother-to-child infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice* / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical* / prevention & control
  • Japan
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / ethnology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This work was supported in part by grants-in-aid from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (grant numbers: H23-Jisedai-Ippan-001 [H.Y.] and H25-Jisedai-Shitei-003 [H.Y.]), and AMED (grant numbers: JP15gk0110003 [H.Y.], JP18gk0110021 [H.Y.], JP19gk0110042 [H.Y.], JP19gk0110047 [H.Y.], and JP20gk0110037 [K.F.]).