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HBIB Project

Hormones, Birth, and Infant Behavior Project

The HBIB Project is a study of early hormones and behavior funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Development (NICHD).  Birth represents a major transition from intrauterine to extrauterine environments.  Physiological systems of respiration, circulation, and digestion, among others, exhibit marked adaptation in the newborn infant.  At the same time, infant hormone regulation undergoes adaptation as the direct influence of maternal prenatal hormones are withdrawn.  


This study aims to understand how the interrelationship of maternal, fetal, and infant hormone activity surrounding birth is related to infant behavior, including emotionality and attention development. 

HEN Lab Visits

Prenatal Visit
6 Month Baby Lab Visit
6 Month Baby Lab Visit
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Undergraduate DREAMS Day

Longitudinal data was collected from 57 mothers recruited from Johns Hopkins to examine the relationship between maternal anxiety and maternal risk factors on infant birth weight. Linear regressions demonstrated that self-reported maternal anxiety has a greater impact on infant birth weight than risk.  An adjusted linear regression further demonstrated that as maternal anxiety increases, infant birth weight decreases. Such results suggest the significance of perceived risk, as opposed to actual risk, and necessitate further investigation.

The study examined associations of parenting and pregnancy experience with maternal depression and anxiety. Data were drawn from 63 pregnant women who visited the lab at 36 weeks gestation and again when infants were 3 months of age. A maternal interview was employed at both visits  to measure depression and anxiety. Results revealed that parity had no effect on anxiety and pregnancy-specific anxiety, but had a trend level effect on maternal depression. Additional factors related to maternal depression and anxiety are discussed.

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