Cardiovascular Responses to Stress in Pregnancy Study

The goal of this study is to determine what aspects of stress predict preterm birth and low birthweight, and how they produce biological changes. Funded by the Tulane Council on Research, overall objective is to gather preliminary data evaluating responses to stressors salient to pregnant women. Although stress and racism have been proposed as causes of racial disparities in birth outcomes, the effects of stressors on physiology have not been fully determined. Our hypotheses are that African-American women will be more likely to exhibit a strong physiological response to situations that touch on concerns of race and motherhood than white women, and that a pregnancy- and race-related task will produce a stronger response than a more neutral one. Dr. Emily Harville serves as principal investigator and Drs. Katherine Theall and Laurie O’Brien as Co-PIs.