FETAL NEUROBEHAVIORAL DEVELOPMENT & POSTNATAL CONTINUITY

Summary

Principal Investigator: J A Dipietro
Affiliation: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Country: USA
Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The period before birth is the final frontier of investigation in human health and development. Interest in fetal origins of childhood and adult well-being has increased exponentially in recent years. We have been documenting normative development of the fetus for the past 16 years under the auspices of this award. Our goals have, and continue to be, threefold. These include: characterizing normal patterns of development of fetal neurobehavioral and physiological functioning during gestation in healthy, low risk pregnancies (Ontogeny);determining how maternal mediators, both psychological and physiological, affect the course of antenatal development (Maternal Influences), and evaluating within and cross-domain continuity in function from prenatal to postnatal development within individuals as a means of understanding the origins of individual differences (Prediction). This project period will focus on further defining the effects of evoked fetal reactivity on maternal function, and evoked maternal reactivity on fetal functioning. This endeavor was generated by findings in the current project period that revealed temporal, bidirectional linkages within the maternal-fetal pair. Two prenatal studies are proposed. The first (n = 52) examines the capacity of an evoked fetal response generated by auditory stimulus presentation to elicit a maternal physiological response at three gestational periods (24, 30, and 36 weeks). The second (n = 108) evaluates fetal responsivity to maternal arousal evoked within a pregnancy specific context at four gestational periods (18, 24, 30, and 36 weeks). Both studies include indicators of maternal autonomic (heart rate, vagal tone, skin conductance, respiration) and neurohormonal (salivary cortisol) activation;fetal measures focus on heart rate and its patterning, motor activity, and the relation between the two. Pairs will be followed at 5 months postnatal age to determine how features of prenatal maternal-fetal synchrony and responsiveness to one another contribute to the unfolding maternal-infant relationship, as measured by the degree of behavioral and physiological synchrony during an undisturbed, baseline interactive period and a still-face condition designed to disrupt the temporal regulatory process between the pair. This project will further our understanding of the maternal factors that impinge, positively or negatively, on the developing fetus and the origins of the earliest relationship. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: There is tremendous recent interest in characterizing how development proceeds before birth and its implications for later life. In this study we will investigate how maternal physiology and emotions affect the development of the fetus and how the developing fetus may affect the pregnant woman. We will apply this information to understanding how mothers interact with their infants during their first year of life.
Funding Period: 1991-08-01 - 2013-02-28
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. pmc Physiological reactivity of pregnant women to evoked fetal startle
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA Electronic address
    J Psychosom Res 75:321-6. 2013
  2. pmc Near-term fetal response to maternal spoken voice
    Kristin M Voegtline
    Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA Electronic address
    Infant Behav Dev 36:526-33. 2013
  3. pmc Concurrent levels of maternal salivary cortisol are unrelated to self-reported psychological measures in low-risk pregnant women
    Kristin M Voegtline
    Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Arch Womens Ment Health 16:101-8. 2013
  4. pmc Maternal stress in pregnancy: considerations for fetal development
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA
    J Adolesc Health 51:S3-8. 2012
  5. pmc The pregnancy experience scale-brief version
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
    J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol 29:262-7. 2008
  6. pmc Prenatal antecedents of newborn neurological maturation
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Child Dev 81:115-30. 2010
  7. pmc Fetal neurobehavioral effects of exposure to methadone or buprenorphine
    Lauren M Jansson
    Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore MD 21224, USA
    Neurotoxicol Teratol 33:240-3. 2011
  8. pmc Maternal salivary cortisol differs by fetal sex during the second half of pregnancy
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N Wolfe St, W1033, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Psychoneuroendocrinology 36:588-91. 2011
  9. pmc Maternal zinc supplementation during pregnancy affects autonomic function of Peruvian children assessed at 54 months of age
    Laura E Caulfield
    Center for Human Nutrition, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    J Nutr 141:327-32. 2011
  10. pmc Associations of maternal psychological factors with umbilical and uterine blood flow
    Tamar Mendelson
    Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
    J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol 32:3-9. 2011

Scientific Experts

Detail Information

Publications27

  1. pmc Physiological reactivity of pregnant women to evoked fetal startle
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA Electronic address
    J Psychosom Res 75:321-6. 2013
    ..Prior work has indicated that the fetus also affects the pregnant woman. Our objective was to determine whether a maternal psychophysiological response to stimulation of the fetus could be isolated...
  2. pmc Near-term fetal response to maternal spoken voice
    Kristin M Voegtline
    Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA Electronic address
    Infant Behav Dev 36:526-33. 2013
    ..Results indicate that fetal responsivity is affected by both maternal and fetal state and have implications for understanding fetal learning of the maternal voice under naturalistic conditions...
  3. pmc Concurrent levels of maternal salivary cortisol are unrelated to self-reported psychological measures in low-risk pregnant women
    Kristin M Voegtline
    Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Arch Womens Ment Health 16:101-8. 2013
    ....
  4. pmc Maternal stress in pregnancy: considerations for fetal development
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA
    J Adolesc Health 51:S3-8. 2012
    ....
  5. pmc The pregnancy experience scale-brief version
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
    J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol 29:262-7. 2008
    ..Internal reliability, test-retest reliability and convergent validity were comparable with the original version. The PES-Brief provides an economical source of information on stress appraisal and emotional valence towards pregnancy...
  6. pmc Prenatal antecedents of newborn neurological maturation
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Child Dev 81:115-30. 2010
    ..Maternal pregnancy-specific psychological stress was associated with accelerated neurologic maturation...
  7. pmc Fetal neurobehavioral effects of exposure to methadone or buprenorphine
    Lauren M Jansson
    Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore MD 21224, USA
    Neurotoxicol Teratol 33:240-3. 2011
    ..05). These results may have implications for the optimal treatment of the opioid-dependent pregnant woman...
  8. pmc Maternal salivary cortisol differs by fetal sex during the second half of pregnancy
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N Wolfe St, W1033, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Psychoneuroendocrinology 36:588-91. 2011
    ..Results highlight the importance of considering fetal sex as a moderator of contemporaneous and predictive associations between maternal cortisol and prenatal or postnatal development...
  9. pmc Maternal zinc supplementation during pregnancy affects autonomic function of Peruvian children assessed at 54 months of age
    Laura E Caulfield
    Center for Human Nutrition, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    J Nutr 141:327-32. 2011
    ....
  10. pmc Associations of maternal psychological factors with umbilical and uterine blood flow
    Tamar Mendelson
    Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
    J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol 32:3-9. 2011
    ..This study characterised the progression of umbilical and uterine blood flow resistance in healthy pregnancies and evaluated concurrent and longitudinal associations with maternal anxiety and other psychological factors...
  11. doi Isolated prenatal choroid plexus cysts do not affect child development
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population and Family Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Prenat Diagn 31:745-9. 2011
    ..To examine the effect of isolated prenatal choroid plexus cysts (CPCs) on child cognitive, behavioral, motor, and autonomic development at 18 months of age...
  12. pmc Physiological blunting during pregnancy extends to induced relaxation
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, 615 N Wolfe St, W1033, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, United States
    Biol Psychol 89:14-20. 2012
    ..Findings support non-specific blunting of physiological responsivity during pregnancy...
  13. pmc Fetal motor activity and maternal cortisol
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Dev Psychobiol 51:505-12. 2009
    ..5. There were no sex differences in fetal motor activity, but the associations between maternal cortisol and fetal motor amplitude and overall movement were significantly stronger for male than female fetuses...
  14. ncbi Neurobehavioral assessment before birth
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population and Family Health Sciences, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Ment Retard Dev Disabil Res Rev 11:4-13. 2005
    ....
  15. ncbi Fetal response to maternal methadone administration
    Lauren M Jansson
    Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
    Am J Obstet Gynecol 193:611-7. 2005
    ..The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of methadone on fetal neurobehavioral functions and maternal physiologic indicators...
  16. ncbi Maternal psychological distress during pregnancy in relation to child development at age two
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population and Family Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Child Dev 77:573-87. 2006
    ..Mild to moderate levels of psychological distress may enhance fetal maturation in healthy populations...
  17. ncbi Prenatal development of intrafetal and maternal-fetal synchrony
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population and Family Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Behav Neurosci 120:687-701. 2006
    ..Fetal motor activity exhibited synchrony with both maternal electrodermal and heart rate activity. Implications for revealing fundamental properties of neural development prior to birth are discussed...
  18. ncbi Choroid plexus cysts do not affect fetal neurodevelopment
    J A Dipietro
    Department of Population and Family Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    J Perinatol 26:622-7. 2006
    ..To determine whether an isolated finding of a choroid plexus cyst (CPC) during routine ultrasound is associated with altered fetal growth or development...
  19. ncbi The relationship between hiccups and heart rate in the fetus
    Frank Witter
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287 1228, USA
    J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 20:289-92. 2007
    ..The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of fetal hiccups on fetal heart rate from 20 weeks of gestation onward...
  20. pmc Fetal responses to induced maternal relaxation during pregnancy
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins University, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, United States
    Biol Psychol 77:11-9. 2008
    ..Potential mechanisms that may mediate the observed results are discussed...
  21. pmc Fetal heart rate and variability: stability and prediction to developmental outcomes in early childhood
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N Wolfe St, E4531, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Child Dev 78:1788-98. 2007
    ..5 years (n = 61). These data suggest that the foundations of individual differences in autonomic control originate during gestation and the developmental momentum of the fetal period continues after birth...
  22. pmc Prenatal origins of temperamental reactivity in early infancy
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N Wolfe St, E4531, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Early Hum Dev 84:569-75. 2008
    ..Temperament theory has long considered individual differences in reactivity and regulation to be present at birth. Recent evidence suggests that such differences may be present prenatally and moderated by maternal emotionality...
  23. ncbi Continuity in self-report measures of maternal anxiety, stress, and depressive symptoms from pregnancy through two years postpartum
    Janet A Dipietro
    John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
    J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol 29:115-24. 2008
    ..97, p < 0.05; time interaction F (2,174)= 7.15, p < 0.001] to multiparous levels by two years. Results are discussed in terms of a "motherhood" effect on psychological distress...
  24. pmc Diurnal rhythm of cortisol during late pregnancy: associations with maternal psychological well-being and fetal growth
    Katie T Kivlighan
    Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 North Wolfe Street, Room E4030, Baltimore, MD 21205, United States
    Psychoneuroendocrinology 33:1225-35. 2008
    ..The findings suggest that regulation of the HPA axis may differ by parity status with downstream implications for fetal growth and development...
  25. ncbi Maternal psychophysiological change during the second half of gestation
    Janet A Dipietro
    Department of Population and Family Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, 615 North Wolfe Street, E4531, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Biol Psychol 69:23-38. 2005
    ..Despite buffered responsivity to stressful stimuli during pregnancy, advancing gestation is associated with escalating sympathetic tone and declining parasympathetic tone...