Published: March 31, 2022

Preterm birth is a leading cause of neonatal mortality and is characterized by substantial racial disparities in the US. Despite efforts to reduce preterm birth, rates have risen and racial disparities persist. Recent Anthropology alum Gabriella Mayne and other researchers recently published "Understanding and Reducing Persistent Racial Disparities in Preterm Birth: a Model of Stress-Induced Developmental Plasticity" in the journal Reproductive Sciences. Maternal stress is a risk factor for preterm birth; however, often, it is treated as a secondary variable rather than a primary target for intervention. Stress is known to affect several biological processes leading to downstream sequelae. This work presents a model of stress-induced developmental plasticity where maternal stress is a key environmental cue impacting the length of gestation and therefore a primary target for intervention.