Skip Navigation

Staff Detail

Skip sharing on social media links


Spong, Catherine Yvonne

Formal Title:

Deputy Director





31 CENTER DR Room 2A03, MSC 2425
Bethesda Md 20892-2425
For FedEx use:
Bethesda Md 20892

Topics in my portfolio:


Dr. Catherine Spong is the Deputy Director of NICHD.  As Deputy Director, Dr. Spong assists the Director in overseeing the Institute’s programs supporting research on child development, developmental biology, nutrition, AIDS/HIV, intellectual and developmental disabilities, population issues, reproductive biology, contraception, pregnancy, and medical rehabilitation.

Prior to these positions, Dr. Spong served as Acting Director of NICHD and she was the inaugural NICHD Associate Director for Extramural Research and Director of the NICHD Division of Extramural Research. She also served for more than a decade as Chief of NICHD’s Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch.

Dr. Spong received her M.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) in 1991. After serving as Chief Resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, she began her career at NICHD as a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellow, including clinical work at Georgetown University. Then, she became a Clinical Associate and Senior Staff Fellow in NICHD’s intramural research program. Among Dr. Spong's areas of expertise are maternal and child health, emphasizing prematurity, fetal complications, and improving child outcomes. One of her major research interests has been the developing fetus. She holds several patents for neuroprotective agents that help prevent fetal injury.

Dr. Spong is board-certified in maternal-fetal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology. She is an Editor of William’s Obstetrics, Management of High Risk Pregnancy, Protocols of High Risk Pregnancy, and Stillbirth: Prediction, Prevention and Management. She has received numerous research awards, including the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Achievement Award, the UMKC Alumnus of the Year Award, and a Surgeon General’s Certificate of Appreciation for her work on prematurity. She has published more than 270 peer-reviewed papers and been featured on national television and radio, including The CBS Early Show, the Diane Rehm Show, NPR’s All Things Considered, CNN, and Voice of America, discussing women’s health and pregnancy topics.

Publications (PubMed):

Prenatal treatment prevents learning deficit in down syndrome model.
Neuroprotective peptides influence cytokine and chemokine alterations in a model of fetal alcohol syndrome.
Risk of Uterine Rupture and Placenta Accreta With Prior Uterine Surgery Outside of the Lower Segment.
Preventing preterm births: analysis of trends and potential reductions with interventions in 39 countries with very high human development index.
Customized versus Population Approach for Evaluation of Fetal Overgrowth.
Placental Villous Hypermaturation is Associated with Idiopathic Preterm Birth.
Preventing the First Cesarean Delivery: Summary of a Joint Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Workshop.
17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate to prevent prematurity in nulliparas with cervical length less than 30 mm.
The utility of uterine artery Doppler velocimetry in prediction of preeclampsia in a low-risk population.
Cytokine and chemokine alterations in Down syndrome.
Relationship between fetal station and successful vaginal delivery in nulliparous women.
Association of polymorphisms in neuroprotection and oxidative stress genes and neurodevelopmental outcomes after preterm birth.
First-trimester prediction of preeclampsia in nulliparous women at low risk.
Excessive early gestational weight gain and risk of gestational diabetes mellitus in nulliparous women.
Elective repeat cesarean delivery compared with spontaneous trial of labor after a prior cesarean delivery: a propensity score analysis.
Effect of antenatal corticosteroids on respiratory morbidity in singletons after late-preterm birth.
Progestogens to prevent preterm birth in twin pregnancies: an individual participant data meta-analysis of randomized trials.
To VBAC or not to VBAC.
Add stillbirth to the list of outcomes to worry about in a pregnant woman with a history of preterm birth or fetal growth restriction.
Amniotic fluid embolism incidence, risk factors and outcomes: a review and recommendations.
Timing of delivery and pregnancy outcomes among laboring nulliparous women.
What is new in maternal-fetal medicine?: best articles from the past year.
Increasing maternal body mass index and characteristics of the second stage of labor.
Association of cord blood magnesium concentration and neonatal resuscitation.
Antithyroid antibodies and parity: further evidence for microchimerism in autoimmune thyroid disease.
Influenza-like illness in hospitalized pregnant and postpartum women during the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic.
Foreword: disparities in perinatal medicine: focus in infant mortality, stillbirth, and preterm birth.
Timing of indicated late-preterm and early-term birth.
We don't know what we don't study: the case for research on medication effects in pregnancy.
Maternal BMI, glucose tolerance, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Relationship between 17-hydroxyprogesterone caproate concentrations and gestational age at delivery in twin gestation.
Perinatal Outcomes in Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Women With Mild Gestational Diabetes.
Obesity, pregnancy complications, and birth outcomes.
BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research