The tool has the potential to assist with preterm birth, labor management and clinical decisionmaking.
NICHD issues News Releases and Media Advisories to the news media. Spotlight and Research Feature articles explain NICHD research findings and public health issues to the general public. An Item of Interest is a short announcement of relevant information, such as a notable staff change.
Media Advisory: New MRI method provides detailed view of the placenta during pregnancy
NIH-funded technique enables automatic detection of placental compartments, oxygen status and structural abnormalities.
Science Update: Analyzing birth stories may predict risk for childbirth-related PTSD
Computational analysis of the word usage in personal stories of recent birthing experiences can identify women likely to develop PTSD related to childbirth, suggests an NIH-funded study. The findings may aid development of a low-cost screening tool to help diagnose and treat childbirth-related PTSD.
Selected NICHD Research Advances of 2022
Read about NICHD’s research findings and activities from 2022.
Spotlight: Scientific advances from the Division of Intramural Research
The Division of Intramural Research provides fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems through basic, clinical, and population-based research.
Science Update: Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may offer slightly greater protection during pregnancy than Johnson & Johnson vaccine, NIH-funded study suggests
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may offer slightly more protection during pregnancy against SARS-CoV-2, compared to the Jansen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine, suggests a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Vaccination during the first and third trimesters appears to result in higher antibody-stimulated immune responses than vaccination in the second trimester. It also may lead to greater transfer of antibodies from maternal blood to the placenta.
Science Update: Hormone prevents obesity in offspring of pregnant mice with obesity, according to NIH-funded study
Giving the hormone adiponectin to pregnant mice with obesity prevented later life obesity and related health conditions in their offspring, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The findings suggest that adiponectin, a hormone produced by fat cells, could play a role in reducing the lifelong obesity risk of children born to mothers with obesity during pregnancy.
Director's Corner: The Power of Networks
Clinical research networks bring together scientists, clinicians, and community stakeholders to identify important clinical questions and design and conduct high-quality studies to answer them. Scientific evidence generated by such studies can impact clinical care, as several recent findings from NICHD’s networks demonstrate.
Science Update: COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy may help protect offspring from SARS-CoV-2 through age 6 months, small NIH-funded study suggests
Vaccinating women against SARS-CoV-2 in mid to late pregnancy could provide their infants at least some protection against COVID-19 through six months of age, suggests a small study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Compared to infants born to mothers who had COVID-19 during pregnancy, infants born to vaccinated mothers were much more likely to have antibodies against the virus.
Science Update: Development scores higher for infants born later in term pregnancy, NIH study suggests
On average, scores on development tests were lower for infants born earlier in the range of a term pregnancy—from 37 to 41 weeks—than for those born later in the range, suggests a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The slight difference in scores, first apparent at eight months, persisted through age seven. The findings may have implications for current practice guidelines recommending induction of labor for non-medical reasons at the 39th week of pregnancy.
Science Update: NIH study identifies potential prenatal risk factors for suicide
An individual’s risk for death by suicide may begin before they are born, suggests a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The authors compared pregnancy and birth records of nearly 50,000 individuals born between 1959 and 1966 to death records through 2016. They found that suicide rates were higher for males, white people, and for those who were among the younger siblings in a family. Other risk factors included having a parent with less than a high school education, having a parent who worked a manual labor job, and having a mother with a high rate of pregnancy complications or who smoked during pregnancy.
Spotlight: Selected NICHD Research Advances of 2021
Read about NICHD’s research findings and activities from 2021.
Item of Interest: PregSource® Mobile App Allows Access from Anywhere
It just got easier to participate in the PregSource®: Crowdsourcing to Understand Pregnancy research project. The free app allows participants to track their weight, sleep, mood, and other features of their pregnancy in just a few taps.
Item of Interest: Una Grewal Appointed Director of the Division of Population Health Research
Dr. Grewal has been acting director of the division since February 2020.
Director's Corner: A Mother’s Day Message: Time for Action to Improve Maternal Health
NICHD Director Dr. Diana Bianchi is joined by NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health Director Dr. Janine Clayton in assessing the growing maternal health crisis in the United States and describing NIH’s efforts to address it.
Science Update: Eviction during pregnancy linked to earlier births, reduced birthweight, according to NICHD-funded study
Women facing eviction from their homes while they were pregnant are more likely to have poor birth outcomes, compared to women who faced eviction before or after they were pregnant, according to a study funded in part by NICHD.
Release: NIH funds study to evaluate remdesivir for COVID-19 in pregnancy
A new study funded by the National Institutes of Health will evaluate the effects of remdesivir in pregnant women who have been prescribed the drug to treat COVID-19. The study, which will be conducted at 17 sites in the continental United States and Puerto Rico, aims to determine how pregnant women metabolize the drug and whether there are any potential side effects.
Media Advisory: NIH calls for greater inclusion of pregnant and lactating people in COVID-19 vaccine research
Pregnant people need to be protected through research rather than from research, the authors contend.
Director's Corner: Including pregnant and lactating people in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine research
As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, SARS-CoV-2 vaccines offer the potential to halt the spread of the virus. Yet, we know very little about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines during pregnancy.
Media Advisory: Severe COVID-19 in pregnancy associated with preterm birth, other complications
NIH-funded study suggests mother-to-infant transmission appears to be rare