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Instructions for Authors

doi: 10.1097/FM9.0000000000000006
Instructions for Authors
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AIMS AND SCOPE

Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) is a newly launched international peer-reviewed journal of the Chinese Medical Association. The aim of the journal is to publish high quality scientific articles in all areas of Obstetrics and Maternal-Fetal Medicine, including original clinical and translational research, state-of-the-art reviews, commentaries, case studies and case reports, and letters to the editor. Articles are published quarterly. The journal is available both in print and online.

Areas covered include but not limited to:

Medical complications of pregnancy

Adverse events of pregnancy

Fetal development

Prenatal screening and diagnosis

Fetal Treatment and Therapy

Technology and developments in the field of Obstetrics and Maternal-Fetal Medicine

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ONLINE SUBMISSION

All manuscripts must be submitted online through the website:

https://www.editorialmanager.com/mfm

First-time users will have to register at this site. Registration is free but mandatory. Registered authors can keep track of their articles after logging into the site using their username and password. Authors do not have to pay for submission of articles. If you experience any problems, please contact the editorial office by E-mail: mfm@cmaph.org, mfmedicine@126.com.

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JOURNAL POLICIES

Duplicate Publication

Manuscripts are reviewed for possible publication with the understanding that they are being submitted only to MFM and have not been published, simultaneously submitted, or already accepted for publication elsewhere. The Editorial team may subject any manuscript submitted for consideration of publication in MFM to plagiarism-detection software.

This does not preclude consideration of a manuscript that has been rejected by another journal or a complete report that follows publication of preliminary findings elsewhere, usually in the form of an abstract. Copies of any possibly duplicate published material should be submitted with the manuscript under consideration, with a statement in the cover letter as to why the manuscript currently being submitted is not a duplicate publication.

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Disclosure of Conflicts

Authors must state all possible conflicts of interest in the manuscript, including financial, consultant, institutional and other relationships that might lead to bias or a conflict of interest. If there is no conflict of interest, this should also be explicitly stated as none declared. All sources of funding should be acknowledged in the manuscript. All relevant conflicts of interest and sources of funding should be included on the title page of the manuscript with the heading “Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding:” For example: “Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: A has received honoraria from Company Z. B is currently receiving a grant (#12345) from Organization Y, and is on the speaker's bureau for Organization X - the CME organizers for Company A. For the remaining authors, no relevant conflicts of interest were declared.”

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Financial support and competing interests

A financial disclosure section is part of the submission process and must be completed by each author at submission. This information is for review by the Editors but will be published if relevant to the content of the accepted manuscript.

The primary purpose of the disclosure section is to determine whether authors have received any commercial financial support that could create a conflict of interest. In addition to monetary interests, a potential for conflict of interest can exist whether or not an individual believes that a relationship (such as dual commitments, competing interests, or competing loyalties) affects his or her scientific judgment. Please review ICMJE Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts.

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AUTHORSHIP

MFM expects that each person listed as an author has participated sufficiently in the intellectual content, the analysis of data, and/or the writing of the manuscript to take public responsibility for it. Each author must have reviewed the manuscript, believes it represents valid work, and approves it for submission.

Moreover, should the Editorial team request the data upon which the manuscript is based, the authors shall provide the data. Each author's specific contributions to the work should be indicated; this information will be published as a footnote to the paper. For example, the areas of participation might include:

  • Participated in research design
  • Participated in the writing of the paper
  • Participated in the performance of the research
  • Contributed new reagents or analytic tools
  • Participated in data analysis

An author may list more than one contribution, and more than one author may have contributed to the same aspect of the work. Any change in authorship/contributions after submission must be approved in writing by all authors and submitted to the Editorial Office for final consideration.

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RETRACTION POLICY

MFM should consider retracting a publication if:

  • Editors have clear evidence that the findings are unreliable, either as a result of misconduct (e.g., data fabrication) or honest error (e.g., miscalculation or experimental error).
  • The findings have previously been published elsewhere without proper crossreferencing, permission or justification (i.e., cases of redundant publication).
  • It constitutes plagiarism.
  • It reports unethical research.
  • MFM abides by Retraction Guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) (http://publicationethics.org/files/retraction%20guidelines_0.pdf).
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REPORTING OF RANDOMIZED CLINICAL TRIALS

Registration of Clinical Trials is an essential requirement for publication of clinical trials in MFM. On the title page of your manuscript, provide the name of the trial registry and the registration number/identifier of the trial.

Acceptable web-based clinical trial registries include the following:

  • EudraCT for EU trials
  • Clinical Trials for US trials
  • Current Controlled Trials
  • WHO International Trial Registry Network
  • Australian & New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry
  • And any publicly available primary registry of clinical trials

Reports of randomized clinical trials should follow the recommendations given in the Consolidated Standards of Reported Trials (CONSORT) statement. In brief, this statement comprises a checklist and flow diagram to help improve the quality of reports of randomized controlled trials and offers a standard way for researchers to report trials.

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OPTIONAL REPORTING GUIDELINES

The following resources may be helpful to authors:

  • PRISMA – Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses
  • STROBE – Strengthening the Reporting of Observational studies in Epidemiology
  • STEGA – Strengthening the Reporting of Genetic Associations
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QUALITATIVE RESEARCH

Qualitative research provides in-depth insights on people's values, attitudes, beliefs, and experiences. Qualitative methodology informs approaches to data collection and analysis, and includes grounded theory, ethnography, and phenomenology. Open-ended interviews and focus groups are commonly used to collect data. Authors are advised to follow the COREQ guidelines for reporting primary qualitative research.

Systematic review and/or synthesis of primary qualitative studies can provide a broader understanding of people's perspectives across different healthcare contexts. Methodologies for synthesis of qualitative research include thematic synthesis, meta-ethnography and critical interpretive synthesis. Authors can refer to the ENTREQ statement.

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PEER REVIEW

All articles published in MFM are subject to review by the Editorial team. Authors submitting manuscripts to MFM may propose suitable reviewers or oppose reviewers who may have competing interests. Manuscripts are accepted on the basis of quality, originality, significance, novelty, priority and importance for the field.

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TYPES OF MANUSCRIPTS PUBLISHED

Figure

Figure

Editorials are invited articles to explain the importance of specific articles or to provide opinions on general concepts in practice, research or policy. Editorials have no abstract and are typically 1000 to 1500 words long. Editorials who discuss a recently published article should cite that article as the first reference.

Guideline Articles are official recommendations from professional organizations on issues related to clinical practice and health care delivery. MFM is flexible with length, reference, and other format requirements given the variability in the format of guidelines developed by different organizations. A concise table or concise graphic summarizing the recommendations and other key points is desirable. Guidelines that meet standards (http://www.equator-network.org/) will fare more favorably than those that do not.

Perspectives are welcomed and the length should be about 1500 words (not including tables, figures, and references). Authors of this type of articles should sign their real names; no anonymous pieces are published.

Original Articles are full-length reports of completed basic, translational or clinical research. Articles should report important, novel and fully completed studies with strong conclusions. There is a maximum length of 5000 words, but shorter articles can also be considered, as long as these are fully completed studies. Preliminary reports cannot be accepted. Articles have an unstructured abstract of maximum 500 words.

Meta Analysis articles are results of meta analysis. The length of the article is about 5000 words (not including tables, figures, and references). The meta analysis should have the following headings: Keywords, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Reference, Tables, and Legends in that order.

Reviews are invited articles. Suggestions can be sent to the editors using the editorial office's email: mfm@cmaph.org, mfmedicine@126.com or panyang@cma.org.cn. Review Articles have an abstract of maximum 500 words and a word count of approximately 5000 words. Review articles should not simply summarize information, but also discuss the importance and impact of the data providing a clear view on how these insights have transformed or will transform the field. Authors of review articles are encouraged to include several figures and tables to summarize and visualize data.

Clinical Observations are brief research. Typically 5 or fewer authors, although exceptions made at editors’ discretion. The text is limited to no more than 1000 words, without abstract and key words, 5 or fewer references, maximum of 1 table or figure. Declaration of patient consent must be stated if the article contains patient information.

Case Reports are short articles reporting about rare medical conditions or occurrences, or cases where a lesson can be communicated. Case Reports should increase awareness of a condition, suggest a reasonable diagnostic strategy, or demonstrate a more cost-effective approach to management. A case report should bring something distinctive to the attention of our specific readership.

Case Reports should be organized in the following way: The title should be provocative and reflect the value of the case. Since there is no abstract, please start the case report with a short paragraph to provide some background information that frames the importance and relevance of the particular case being presented. Provide a concise description of the patient history, including all facts relevant to the remarkable observation. Key illustrations are highly encouraged. Importantly, inclusion of investigative studies will increase the value of the report. Finally, provide the most current information on the patient's outcome. In the report, avoid inclusion of details that do not increase comprehension of the case. The discussion should aim to extract the main one or two lessons from the case. Include references to other relevant reports, whether they are supportive or contradictory to the current case. Alternative, scientifically-based proposals for management of similar cases can be presented for consideration.

Patient release/permission forms are required at submission for all images showing identifiable features. Physician forms are acceptable. Upload release forms as supplemental files during submission.

Correspondence are short discussions based on limited new data that still come to solid conclusions or initiate important new questions. Correspondence have no abstract and therefore should begin with a short introductory paragraph explaining the background and the rationale for the letter. Correspondence can only have 1200 words and 2 tables/figures.

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MANUSCRIPT PREPARATION AND FORMATTING INSTRUCTIONS

Manuscripts must be written in clear, grammatical English (see English Language Assistance above). Manuscripts not conforming to Journal format will be returned to authors for modification. Please double space the entire main body document and number each page. Do not add line numbers as the system will generate those when the PDF is built.

Footnotes, abbreviations, and abstract pages must be included in the main body file. Please do not upload separate copies of these documents, only the Title page must be a separate file and uploaded separately to the main body file.

Acceptable document file types for text and tables include .DOC and .DOCX; do not submit a PDF.

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Title Page

The following elements are required for every submission:

Type of manuscript. Editorial, Guideline Article, Perspective, Original Article, Meta Analysis, Clinical Observation, Review, Case Report, Correspondence, etc.

Title. Include a descriptive title of the work; the title should not be a sentence. No proprietary or brand names for drugs or agents may be used in article titles.

Authors. The full first name, middle initials, and family name of each author, as well as the name(s) of the department(s) and institution(s) to which the work should be attributed.

Address for Correspondence. A current email and full mailing address for the corresponding author must be provided.

The total number of pages, total number of photographs and word counts separately for abstract and for the text (excluding the references, tables and abstract).

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Following pages

Abstract. Where required, abstracts are limited to 500 words, which is excluded from the overall manuscript word count. The abstract is unstructured and should briefly describe: (1) the problem being addressed in the study, (2) how the study was performed, (3) the salient results, and (4) what the authors conclude from the results.

Introduction. The introduction contains a statement of the purpose of the work, the problem that stimulated it, and a brief summary of relevant published investigations.

Materials and Methods. Avoid detailed description of previously published methods and cite the appropriate reference. Detailed methods may be provided as Supplementary information.

Results. The results should be concise, avoiding redundant tables and figures illustrating the same data.

Discussion. This section should follow the results and is used to interpret results, with minimal recapitulation of findings.

Statistics. Whenever possible quantify findings and present them with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals). Authors should report losses to observation (such as dropouts from a clinical trial). When data are summarized in the Results section, specify the statistical methods used to analyze them. Avoid non-technical uses of technical terms in statistics, such as ‘random’ (which implies a randomizing device), ‘normal’, ‘significant’, ‘correlations’, and ‘sample’. Define statistical terms, abbreviations, and most symbols. Specify the computer software used. Use upper italics (e.g., P = 0.048). For all P values include the exact value and not less than 0.05 or 0.01. Mean differences in continuous variables, proportions in categorical variables and relative risks including odds ratios and hazard ratios should be accompanied by their confidence intervals.

Acknowledgments. This section normally includes sources of research funds, the names of collaborators who are not listed as coauthors, or of any others who contributed to the manuscript. Where a medical writer or editorial assistant has been used to write or edit the article, the writer must be identified and named, together with the source of funding.

Funding. Include disclosure of funding received for this work, especially details of funding from any of the following organizations: National Institutes of Health (NIH); Wellcome Trust; and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

Disclosure. If the author(s) have no funding to disclose, please include the phrase, “The authors declare no conflicts of interest.”

Author contributions and potential conflicts of interest. List each author's specific contributions to the work (see details above, under (Authorship) and list all forms of support received by each author for this study; list any potential conflict of interest for each author, or make a declaration of no conflict of interest.

References. The journal uses American Medical Association (AMA) style. References should begin on a separate page and numbered in the order in which they are cited in the text, where they are designated by superscript numbers placed outside periods and commas, and inside colons and semicolons. Only published works and manuscripts that have been accepted for publication should be listed in the References. Manuscripts in preparation, unpublished observations, and personal communications should be referred to in parentheses in the text. Completed manuscripts submitted for publication may be cited as footnotes to the text (see above, Footnotes). If these are subsequently accepted, the author may transfer them to the reference section in galley proof.

References Format. No more than three authors should be listed. If there are four or more, only the first three followed by “et al.” should be included. Titles of journal articles must be included, and abbreviation of journal names should conform to Index Medicus style. The available Digital Object Identifier (DOI) should be added at the end of every reference.

Examples of journal citations:

[1] Anderson RL, Cassidy JM. Variations in physical dimensions and chemical composition of human stratum corneum. J Invest Dermatol 1973;61(1):30–32. doi: 10.1111/1523-1747.ep12674117.

[2] Sheng C, Zhang W, Ji H, et al. Structure- based optimization of azole antifungal agents by CoMFA, CoMSIA, and molecular docking. J Med Chem 2006;49(8):2512–2525. doi: 10.1021/jm051211n.

Example of a book citation:

[1] Reese RE, Betts RF, Gumustop B. Handbook of antibiotics. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000.

[2] Weinstein L, Swartz MN. Pathogenic properties of invading microorganisms. In: Sodeman WA Jr., Sodeman WA, eds. Pathologic physiology: mechanisms of disease. Philadelphia: Saunders; 1974:457–472.

Example of Electronic Sources citation:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Task Force on Hypertension in Pregnancy. Hypertension in pregnancy 2013 [cited 2018]. Available from: https://www.acog.org/∼/media/Task%20Force%20and%20Work%20Group%20Reports/public/HypertensioninPregnancy.pdf.

Tables. Photographs of tables are not acceptable. Type each table, 1.5 spacing throughout (including column headings, footnotes, and data), on a separate page. Tables may be included as part of the Main Body file and placed after the References section. Number the tables in sequence in Arabic numerals and supply a concise, informative title for each one. Each column in the tables should carry a concise heading describing the data in the column. Use lowercase superscript letters to designate footnotes, and type the footnotes below the tables to which they refer. Explain in footnotes all non-standard abbreviations that are used in each table. For footnotes use the following symbols, in this sequence: *, †, ‡, §, ||, ¶, **, ††, ‡‡. Tables are cited in the text in numerical order. Each table should be able to be understood without consulting the text.

Like text, tables should be prepared using a standard word-processing program and may be included within the main body text document, or uploaded separately. Do not upload table files more than once (that is, in the main document and in separate files). Acceptable document file types for tables include .DOC and .DOCX; do not submit PDF, XLS or XLSX type files.

Figures and Legends. Figures should be uploaded in the highest resolution available. Legends should be supplied for all figures. They are numbered to correspond with the figures and typed double-spaced on a separate page. Figure legends for any supplemental figures being submitted are to be provided separately; see section, Supplemental Digital Content (SDC).

  • Figures should be numbered consecutively according to the order in which they have been first cited in the text.
  • Labels, numbers, and symbols should be clear and of uniform size. The lettering for figures should be large enough to be legible after reduction to fit the width of a printed column.
  • Symbols, arrows, or letters used in photomicrographs should contrast with the background and should be marked neatly with transfer type or by tissue overlay and not by pen.
  • Titles and detailed explanations belong in the legends for illustrations not on the illustrations themselves.
  • When graphs, scatter-grams or histograms are submitted the numerical data on which they are based should also be supplied.
  • The photographs and figures should be trimmed to remove all the unwanted areas.
  • If photographs of individuals are used, their pictures must be accompanied by written permission to use the photograph.
  • If a figure has been published elsewhere, acknowledge the original source and submit written permission from the copyright holder to reproduce the material. A credit line should appear in the legend for such figures.
  • Legends for illustrations: Type legends (maximum 40 words, excluding the credit line) with Arabic numerals corresponding to the illustrations. When symbols, arrows, numbers, or letters are used to identify parts of the illustrations, identify and explain each one in the legend. Explain the internal scale (magnification) and identify the method of staining in photomicrographs.
  • Final figures for print production: Ensure that the image has a minimum resolution of 300 PPI or 1800 × 1600 pixels in JPEG or TIFF format.
  • The Journal reserves the right to crop, rotate, reduce, or enlarge the photographs to an acceptable size.

Supplemental Digital Content (SDC): Authors may submit Supplemental Digital Content to supplement the information provided in the manuscript. It is preferable to include all significant figures and tables in the manuscript, since there is not a limit on the number of items in this online journal. Nonetheless, SDC may include the following types of content: text, tables, figures, references peripheral to information provided as SDC, audio, and video. SDC should be consecutively cited in the Main Body text of the submitted manuscript. SDC files will be available via URL(s) placed at the citation points within the article and are not copyedited by the publisher. Note that Journal policies for manuscript submission relating to peer review, patient anonymity, ethics, financial disclosure, copyright, and permissions also apply to SDC. Authors should mask patients’ eyes and remove patients’ names from supplemental digital content unless they obtain written consent from the patients and submit them as supplemental files at the time of the manuscript submission.

Format, File Type and Size Requirements: SDC must be provided in one Word or PowerPoint file. Each SDC in the file should have a visual header in the following name format (e.g., “SDC, Figure 1”; “SDC, Materials and Methods”) and a corresponding citation must appear in the Main Body text. Note that SDC is numbered separately from non-SDC material. If providing SDC figure(s), a figure legend should be included on the figure itself. When uploading SDC select “Supplemental Digital Content” as the file designation. For audio and video files, also include the author name, videographer, participants, length (minutes), and size (MB). Video files should be formatted with a 320x240 pixel minimum screen size. For each submission, the SDC file cannot exceed a total size of 10 MB.

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Protection of Patients’ Rights to Privacy

Identifying information should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, sonograms, CT scans, etc., and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian, wherever applicable) gives written informed consent for publication. Authors should remove patients’ names from figures unless they have obtained written informed consent from the patients. MFM abides by ICMJE guidelines: (1) Authors, not the journals nor the publisher, need to have the patient consent form before the publication related to patient privacy and have the form properly archived by the author. (2) If the publication includes some facial images that make the patients identifiable, a statement about the patient's consent needs to be present in the manuscript.

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CHECKLIST

Covering letter

  • Signed by all contributors;
  • Previous publication/presentations mentioned;
  • Source of funding mentioned;
  • Conflicts of interest disclosed.
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Authors

  • Last name and given name provided along with Middle name initials (where applicable);
  • Author for correspondence, with E-mail address provided;
  • Identity not revealed in paper except title page (e.g., name of the institute in Methods, citing previous study as “our study”, names on figure labels, name of institute in photographs, etc.).
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Presentation and format

  • Use only 10- or 12-point font size;
  • Page numbers included at the bottom;
  • Title page contains all the desired information;
  • Abstract page contains the full title of the manuscript;
  • Abstract provided (structured abstract of 300 words for original articles, meta analysis [Objective, Methods, Results, Conclusions] and review articles [Objective, Data sources, Study selection, Results, Conclusions]);
  • Key words provided (three to six words) Introduction should be short and arresting. State the purpose of the article and summarize the rationale for the study or observation. Give only strictly pertinent references;
  • The references cited in the text should be after punctuation marks;
  • References according to the journal's instructions, punctuation marks checked;
  • Send the article file without “Track Changes”.
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Language and grammar

  • Uniformly American English;
  • Write the full term for each abbreviation at its first use in the title, abstract, keywords and text separately unless it is a standard unit of measure. Numerals from 1 to 10 spelt out;
  • Numerals at the beginning of the sentence spelt out;
  • Check the manuscript for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors;
  • If a brand name is cited, supply the manufacturer's name and address (city and state/country);
  • Species names should be in italics.
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Tables and figures

  • No repetition of data in tables and graphs and in text;
  • Actual numbers from which graphs drawn, provided;
  • Figures necessary and of good quality (color);
  • Table and figure numbers in Arabic letters (not Roman);
  • Figure legends provided (not more than 40 words);
  • Patients’ privacy maintained (if not permission taken);
  • Credit note for borrowed figures/tables provided;
  • Write the full term for each abbreviation used in the table as a footnote.
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Additional resources

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POST ACCEPTANCE

Page Proofs

The publisher's Journal Production Editor will contact you when page proofs are ready for your review. The figures included on author's proofs are high resolution. Please inform the Journal Production Editor immediately if you have any questions concerning the quality of the figures on the proofs. For information regarding proofs, or the status of publication of your accepted manuscript, please contact 8610-51322356 (E-mail: mfm@cmaph.org, mfmedicine@126.com).

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Changes at Proofs

It is expected that the final manuscript sent to the Editor is indeed the final version, so few changes should be required at proof stage.

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Copyright

The Chinese Medical Association (CMA) is the owner of all copyrights to any articles published in the journal. Published manuscripts become the permanent property of CMA and may not be published elsewhere without written permission. CMA keeps the right to use these manuscripts in any form, including print, video, audio and digital.

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Open Access

Every peer-reviewed research article appearing in this journal will be published open access. This means that the article is universally and freely accessible via the internet in perpetuity, in an easily readable format immediately after publication. The author does not have any publication charges for open access. The Chinese Medical Association will pay to make the article open access.

A CC user license manages the reuse of the article (see http://www.wkopenhealth.com/openaccessfaq.php). All articles will be published under the following license:

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)

For non-commercial purposes, lets others distribute and copy the article, and to include in a collective work (such as an anthology), as long as they credit the author(s) and provided they do not alter or modify the article.

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EDITORIAL OFFICE CONTACTS

The Editorial Office is pleased to answer any questions you may have about preparing your manuscript in accordance with our guidelines.

Email: mfm@cmaph.org, mfmedicine@126.com

Submit a manuscript: www.maternal-fetalmedicine.org or https://www.editorialmanager.com/mfm

© 2019 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.