All Our Families Study

A longitudinal cohort study about pregnancy, parenting and child development.


The All Our Families cohort began in 2008 with the recruitment of 3,200 Alberta mother-baby pairs. Mothers were recruited before they were 25-weeks of gestation and were eligible if they were undergoing prenatal care for a singleton pregnancy in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 

Since those first surveys, the All Our Families has continued to receive funding to follow these mother-baby pairs for nearly two decades.

Ongoing follow-up of the All Our Families cohort is an exceptional opportunity for life-course investigation of the relationship between prenatal events and child development, taking into account many factors that influence child and family well-being (e.g., parental education, mental health, lifestyle, child care, use of community services, and availability of health services). In addition, following up with participants will help us better understand how children grow and develop in our communities.

When we compare the characteristics of women recruited into the All Our Families, we find they are similar to other women having children in a large urban centre in Canada, with the exception that the family incomes of participating families were slightly higher than the 2010 provincial average.

research objectives

Research Objectives

The vision of our research study has been to gain a better understanding of the intersection between early life events, including birth outcomes, maternal mental health, social support, and child development and family well-being.

Our goal is to draw out new information that will influence:

  • Quality research about child development,
  • Evidence-based advancements in practice, and
  • Public policy that can positively impact broader society.

What are we working on?

Our team is busy analyzing data from past surveys, creating new surveys for upcoming projects, analyzing biological data, and creating novel methodologies.

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How was the research study designed?

Information regarding the All Our Families cohort, including study design and methods, are described.

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What have we learned?

Over 200 peer reviewed publications have been published thus far! We have investigated maternal mental health, child development, and COVID-19 impacts to name a few.

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What is the life-course perspective?

The life-course perspective focuses on understanding how early-life experiences can shape one's health through their lifetime, and even potentially across generations. Understanding the life-course influences on later health provides compelling rationale for policies at all levels (community, provincial, national) to prioritize strategies that improve child well-being (Braveman et al., 2009).

The All Our Families cohort spans pregnancy, birth and early postpartum through childhood and adolescence and is perfectly positioned to apply the life-course perspective. Our research provides the unique opportunity to describe the relations between prenatal events and early life development and to examine key factors that influence child and mother well-being over time.


What have participants shared?

I appreciate the opportunity surveys like [these] give me to self-reflect on my parenting, and to reflect on how great my daughter is!

AOF Participant

Participating in this study has been a gift. Thank you for your questions and results and the opportunity to think carefully about these important aspects of my life and family.

AOF Participant

I really enjoy being a part of this study and feel that it is a very valuable exercise. I appreciate being included for so long, and have now come to enjoy going through the questions to see how my child is doing, and the skills or behaviors that might be of interest.

AOF Participant

Key Messages

Some of our research has identified negative impacts of exposures on maternal health and child development including the effects of body mass index (BMI) on pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes risk during pregnancy, and the impacts of prenatal depression on child development (refer to Study Results). Such findings allow us to advocate for public health programs to support maternal health and child development, to help families thrive.

Below are some key messages about what families, communities, and decision makers can do to support the physical, emotional and mental health of members of our communities.

For families

For communities

For decisions makers