Prenatal antecedents of newborn neurological maturation

Janet A. DiPietro, Katie T. Kivlighan, Kathleen A. Costigan, Suzanne E. Rubin, Dorothy E. Shiffler, Janice L. Henderson, Joseph P. Pillion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fetal neurobehavioral development was modeled longitudinally using data collected at weekly intervals from 24 to 38 weeks gestation in a sample of 112 healthy pregnancies. Predictive associations between 3 measures of fetal neurobehavioral functioning and their developmental trajectories to neurological maturation in the first weeks after birth were examined. Prenatal measures included fetal heart rate (FHR) variability, fetal movement, and coupling between fetal motor activity and heart rate patterning; neonatal outcomes include a standard neurologic examination (n = 97) and brainstem auditory evoked potential (BAEP; n = 47). Optimality in newborn motor activity and reflexes was predicted by fetal motor activity, FHR variability, and somatic-cardiac coupling predicted BAEP parameters. Maternal pregnancy-specific psychological stress was associated with accelerated neurologic maturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-130
Number of pages16
JournalChild development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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