Maternal, Fetal and Perinatal Health
The research, teaching and practice activities of faculty in Maternal, Fetal and Perinatal Health address the physical and mental well-being of mothers prior to and during pregnancy, as well as that of their newborns and infants, from a psycho-social, environmental, biological, developmental and health services perspective.
The faculty use methodological approaches in the study of maternal, fetal, newborn and infant health.
The department has a rich history of scholarship and teaching in maternal and perinatal health beginning in 1950s when the Long-term Study of Prematures was initiated and the Collaborative Perinatal Project from 1957-76 which followed close to 4,000 pregnant women from East Baltimore women and their offspring. Work continued into the 1970s and 1980s focusing on LBW and neonatal mortality in Baltimore and other areas with high rates of mortality along with research on different models of maternity care. Collaboration with Baltimore Healthy Start began in the 1990s coupled with a focus on concerns about infant mortality more broadly in Maryland and leadership in advocacy for reducing racial disparities in infant mortality in the state. Research during this time also focused on low resources settings and LBW; it continued into the 2000s when a myriad of studies was conducted both at home and abroad on maternal and perinatal health. Research on maternal health and maternal mortality has emerged as an important topic during recent years as well as understanding the impact of pregnancy and fetal behavior on the health of children; the long-term impact of pregnancy complications is an emerging issue as well. Faculty currently use a variety of methodologic, conceptual and disciplinary approaches to study maternal, fetal and perinatal health.