This special issue of Pediatrics honors the critical role that mothers play in their child’s health during 3 important periods: preconception, prenatal, and early childhood. Two general public heath messages are highlighted by the researchers who explored maternal influences during the preconception period: the ongoing challenge of pregnancy-related health promotion among all women of childbearing age, and the implications of increased use of reproductive technology. In studies of the prenatal period, researchers focused on maternal influences such as healthy prenatal behavior and testing for diseases that can be transmitted perinatally. In studies of the early childhood period, researchers focused on what mothers can do to keep infants and young children safe and healthy, including accessing health care and creating a safe and healthy environment at home. Findings in this supplement are based on premier national data sets, including comprehensive health surveys such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey...

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