The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is tasked with protecting and promoting the health of Service members and their families. Concerns exist that the unique occupational exposures inherent in military service may pose reproductive health risks. Additionally, the increasing number of women serving in the military underscores the need to identify any potential risks. Recognizing this, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs directed the establishment of a birth defects surveillance program for military families in 1998. As a result, the DoD Birth and Infant Health Research (BIHR) program was established and is led by the Naval Health Research Center.
Initially developed to monitor birth defects, the mission of the BIHR program has expanded to conduct regular surveillance of births to military members and their spouses and ongoing research of maternal, pregnancy, and infant health outcomes (including birth defects) to understand how military service affects reproductive health.
The research team also manages the National Smallpox Vaccine in Pregnancy Registry (NSVIPR) which actively enrolls women who are inadvertently vaccinated with smallpox vaccine during, or just prior to, pregnancy. Once enrolled, these women are surveyed periodically, until there is an outcome (loss or live birth). Infants of mothers exposed to smallpox vaccine are followed to monitor their health outcomes into early school age.
Questions? Please contact the research team at DoD.NHRC-BirthResearch@mail.mil with any questions.
For more information about the active NSVIPR, click on the link below:
To refer a patient to the NSVIPR, please complete and return this National Smallpox Vaccine in Pregnancy Referral Form.
Please contact the vaccine in pregnancy research team at NHRC-VaccineRegistry@mail.mil with any questions.
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