MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Julie Flom, MD MPH
Division of Allergy & Immunology
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Women who are minorities and of lower socioeconomic have particularly high rates of exposure to chronic ongoing adversity such as poverty as well as traumatic stressors in their lifetime and are also more likely to have low birthweight infants. Not all women exposed to chronic adversity or trauma transfer this risk to the next generation – it is primarily when the trauma results in changes in her bodies’ ability to handle ongoing stress that the developing child can be impacted.
Our group undertook a study to investigate whether women with increased exposure to traumatic stressors over her lifetime were at higher risk of having low birthweight infants and also whether effects of trauma would only be evident among women who produced higher levels of cortisol, the major stress response hormone, while pregnant.