Four pregnant women sitting in chairs
Epigenetic Changes to Placenta Correlate with Maternal Depression
An epigenome-wide association study found more than a dozen methylation changes in placental DNA that correlated with expectant mothers’ self-reports of depression and stress during their pregnancy.
ABOVE: MODIFIED FROM © ISTOCK.COM, Vladimir Kononok
Epigenetic Changes to Placenta Correlate with Maternal Depression
Epigenetic Changes to Placenta Correlate with Maternal Depression

An epigenome-wide association study found more than a dozen methylation changes in placental DNA that correlated with expectant mothers’ self-reports of depression and stress during their pregnancy.

An epigenome-wide association study found more than a dozen methylation changes in placental DNA that correlated with expectant mothers’ self-reports of depression and stress during their pregnancy.

ABOVE: MODIFIED FROM © ISTOCK.COM, Vladimir Kononok

maternal-fetal interactions

A watercolor of a baby in a heart-shaped womb
Sex of Fetus Affects Immune Response to COVID-19 During Pregnancy
Amanda Heidt | Oct 20, 2021
Male placentas produce more proinflammatory molecules than female placentas, while people carrying male fetuses produce fewer antibodies in response to infection, a study finds.
A microscopy image of several endometrial stromal fibroblasts
Gene Offers Clue to How Human Labor Starts
Christie Wilcox | Aug 1, 2021
Genes associated with preterm birth and protecting the fetus from the mother’s immune system appear to be regulated by HAND2.
Infographic: Maternal Microbiota Has Lasting Effects on Offspring
Carolyn A. Thomson, Kathy D. McCoy | Aug 1, 2021
Work in rodents shows that the bacteria living in a mother’s gut can produce immunomodulatory metabolites and influence the production of maternal antibodies—both of which can affect her offspring’s development.
The Role of Mom’s Microbes During Pregnancy
Carolyn A. Thomson, Kathy D. McCoy | Aug 1, 2021
Bacteria in the gut influence the production of antibodies and themselves secrete metabolites. In a pregnant woman, these compounds may influence immune development of her fetus.
Maternal Response to Zika Damages Mouse Fetuses
Catherine Offord | Jan 5, 2018
Signaling pathways triggered by the mother’s immune system may cause complications during fetal development.
Study: Babies’ Microbiomes Indifferent to Mode of Delivery
Kerry Grens | Jan 23, 2017
Study of 81 six-week-olds who were born by C-section or vaginal delivery didn’t show differences in the structure or function of their microbiota, despite contrary results from other studies on babies. 
Mother’s Microbiome Shapes Offspring’s Immunity
Anna Azvolinsky | Mar 17, 2016
The maternal gut microbiome guides neo- and postnatal immune system development, a mouse study shows. 
Mimicry Muses
Mary Beth Aberlin | Aug 1, 2015
The animal world is full of clever solutions to bioengineering challenges.
Contributors
Amanda B. Keener | Aug 1, 2015
Meet some of the people featured in the August 2015 issue of The Scientist.