University Of Kentucky Researcher Awarded Grant To Study Prenatal Stress Effects On Birth Outcomes

August 19, 1998

LEXINGTON, KY (August 19, 1998) -- Pathik Wadhwa, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral science, and obstetrics and gynecology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, has received a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The $504,390 award runs through June 2003, and will support Wadhwa's ongoing research into the effects of prenatal stress.

The project's broad goal is to understand biological mechanisms that link behavioral factors like stress with adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as prematurity.

"Previous research has suggested that psychological stress in mothers is often associated with preterm delivery and low birth weight," Wadhwa said. "Specifically, our project will measure the degree to which pregnant women react biologically or physiologically to behavioral stress at different time-periods over the course of their pregnancy, and will determine whether the magnitude of the mother's biological stress response is a marker, or predictor, of risk for prematurity-related outcomes."

Pregnant women attending obstetrics clinics at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center will have the opportunity to join the study. Participants will have assessments of various maternal and fetal parameters, including tests for maternal hormone levels and fetal ultrasounds, at three times during early, middle, and late gestation. All assessments will be performed at no charge to study participants.

Study collaborators at the UK Chandler Medical Center include Frank C. Miller, M.D., professor and chairman of obstetrics and gynecology, UK College of Medicine and Thomas E. Curry, Ph.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology, UK College of Medicine.

University of Kentucky Medical Center

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