OPEN Research Support

Ellen Aagaard Nøhr
Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Odense University Hospital

Projekt styring
Projekt status    Sampling ongoing
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.01.1997  
Slut 01.02.2025  

Health and disease in mothers and children studied in a life course perspective. A cohort study of 92,000 women and their children

Short summary

In the Danish National Birth Cohort, data on 92,000 pregnant women and their children have been collected since the births of these children in 1997-2003. This data collection allows study of how exposures in early life relate to later health in the children, from birth and now until early adulthood. Also, rich data on exposures, lifestyle and health of the mothers allow important studies of maternal health in a life course perspective.


The early origin of disease hypothesis - that many aspects of both health and disease may have its origin in fetal life and early childhood - was the main motivator for establishing the Danish National Birth Cohort where 92,000 women and their babies were recruited in the years 1996-2002. The mothers participated in 4 telephone interviews, 2 in pregnancy and 2 in early childhood 6 and 18 months after birth. Also, blood samples were collected, for the mother twice in pregnancy and for the chil from the umbilical cord. During childhood, parents and children have filled out web-based questionnaires when the child was 7 and 11 years old, and approximately 12 years after birth, the mothers participated in a web-based follow-up focusing on maternal health. A puberty follow-up (also web-based) is ongoing and an 18 years follow-up has just been launched. The main data collection is placed at Aarhus University and Statens Serum Institut which also houses the biobank and the main secretariat.

The rich data of the Danish National Birth Cohort has already allowed many important studies of health and disease in mothers and children, focusing on fetal exposures to maternal lifestyle, medication, health, and disease. To access the data source, a permission is needed from the steering and leading committees of the cohort. An application and protocol should be forwarded to the secretariat of the cohort, please see For local collaboration at Odense University Hospital / University of Southern Denmark, please contact Professor Ellen Aagaard Nøhr.

Description of the cohort

92,000 women and their children. The nationwide recruitment 1996-2002 took place in early pregnancy where the women were approached by their GP at the first antenatal visit.

Data and biological material

2 pregnancy telephone interviews

2 postpartum telephone interviews 6 and 18 months after birth

Follow-up of children 7 and 11 years after birth

Follow-up of mothers app. 12 years after birth

Regarding biological material and more detailed descriptions of the data collection please see

Collaborating researchers and departments

Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Department of Public Health, Aarhus University

  • Professor and leader of the Danish National Birth Cohort Jørn Olsen

Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen

  • Professor Mads Melbye 
  • Professor Sjurdur F Olsen
Section of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Copenhagen

  • Professor Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen 
  • Associate Professor Katrine Strandberg-Larsen

Department of Public Health, Aarhus University

  • Professor Cecilia Ramlau-Hansen