Purpose Observational population-based research is a very suitable non-invasive method for studies in the vulnerable populations of pregnant women and children. Therefore, the PHARMO Perinatal Research Network (PPRN) was set up as a resource for life course perinatal and paediatric research by linking population-based data from existing registrations.

Participants From 1999 to 2017, the PPRN captures approximately 542 900 pregnancies of 387 100 mothers (‘Pregnancy Cohort’). Additionally, mother–child linkage is currently available for a quarter of these pregnancies (‘Child Cohort’). The PPRN contains preconceptional information on maternal healthcare, as well as detailed pregnancy and neonatal data, extending into long-term follow-up and outcomes after birth for both mother and child up to nearly 20 years. It includes linked data from different primary and secondary healthcare settings.

Findings to date Through record linkage of the Netherlands Perinatal Registry and the PHARMO Database Network, we have established a large population-based research network including data on demographics, medication use, medical conditions and details concerning labour, birth and neonatal outcomes. Here, we provide an overview of record types available from the PPRN, available database follow-up and pregnancy characteristics of the PPRN cohorts. The PPRN has been used for a number of different pharmacoepidemiological studies, for example, to confirm that preterm-born infants were more likely than full-term infants to be hospitalised or use medication. Similar long-term comparisons showed that children born following spontaneous preterm labour were at increased risk of neurodevelopmental and respiratory conditions. Most recently, the PPRN provided important evidence on the trends in use of potentially harmful medication during pregnancy.

Future plans The PPRN provides a unique and rich data set facilitating large-scale observational pharmacoepidemiological perinatal research. The patient-level linkage of many different healthcare data sources allows for long-term follow-up of mother and child, with ongoing annual updates.

doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037837, hdl.handle.net/1765/131368
BMJ Open
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Houben, E., Broeders, L., Steegers, E., & Herings, R.M.C. (2020). Cohort profile: the PHARMO Perinatal Research Network (PPRN) in the Netherlands: a population-based mother-child linked cohort. BMJ Open, 10(9). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-037837