If you choose to take part in the study, you will be asked to fill out a number of questionnaires/assessments about your lifestyle, mood, social environment, and your infant’s personality.
You will also be asked to provide a hair sample at three separate time points (during your third trimester, 10-12 weeks after the birth of your baby, and 6 months after birth) because we want to learn more about the biology of stress during pregnancy, and a biological marker of long-term stress can be measured through a small sample of hair (for more details see Cortisol).
You will also be asked to wear a Fitbit to gather activity, sleep, and heart rate data. And be asked to provide two saliva samples at 10-12 weeks and 6 months after birth to be used in microbiome analysis.
If you choose to participate in this study, your infant’s temperament and resilience will also be assessed through two methods: (1) your own report of your infant’s reactivity and regulation; (2) analysis of cortisol reactivity accomplished by collecting non-invasive saliva samples from your child at 10-12 weeks and 6 months after birth. These samples will be taken three times a day for three days (see “Infant’s role” for more details).
At time 2 (10-12 weeks after birth) and time 3 (6 months after birth) you will be provided with a tube labeled with your participant ID. This will be a small tube with a liquid in it already.
Please wait 15 minutes after eating or drinking anything to collect your sample.
Step 1) Rinse mouth with water for 30 seconds
Step 2) Open the tube and place the cap aside
Step 3) Place the open tube to the side of your mouth and passively let your saliva accumulate in the tube. Please DO NOT spit into the tube.
Step 4) When the tube is filled, securely recap the tube.
Step 5) Store in your freezer with the saliva samples you collect from your baby at the same time points.
This research study examines the mechanisms related to prenatal maternal well-being and stress/anxiety along with the birth outcomes and physiological/behavioral indicators of stress resilience and brain HPA axis development in the infants. Although associations between maternal stress and infant birth outcomes such as early labor and low birth weight have been reported, less is known about the mechanisms responsible for the relationship between maternal prenatal stress and infant behavioral development, brain HPA axis development, and physiological reactivity.
To study this, all we need to do is collect saliva samples from your baby!
You might be thinking, “how do you collect the saliva?”. Well, when you receive your prepaid kit at times 2 & 3, inside you will find 9 labeled tubes and one extra. Using these, you can collect your baby’s saliva, just remember to freeze each tube after collection!
Infant Saliva Collection Instructions
- There are 6 labeled tubes in this kit. (Day 1:Time 1, Day 1:Time 2, Day 1:Time 3, Day 2:Time 1, Day 2:Time 2, Day 2:Time 3) Make sure you use the correctly labeled tube for each collection.
- Please collect your baby’s saliva by allowing them to chew on the sterile swab found inside the tube.
- Collections should take place at three times during the day. For two days.
Time 1 should be within 30 minutes of your baby waking up in the morning and before feeding.
Time 2 should be mid-day, before an afternoon nap (if that is something you do) and before feeding or an hour after feeding.
Time 3 should be within 30 minutes of putting your baby to sleep for the night and before feeding or an hour after feeding.
- Please keep the samples in your freezer as you collect them, but don’t forget to ship them the day after the last collection!
Step 1) Open the correctly labeled tube and remove the sterile swab.
Step 2) Allow your baby to chew on the sterile swab until it is mostly soaked, do not leave your baby unattended during this collection and continue to hold the other side of the swab. If your baby seems to have a dry mouth you can try to stimulate salivation by wiping their lips with a wet q-tip or to suck on a bottle nub or teething toy.
Step 3) Put the soaked swab back in the tube by folding it, close the tube with the cap, and store it in your freezer.
Step 4) After the final collection, before bedtime on the third day, make sure to remember to take all of the samples from the freezer in the morning and mail all of them back to the researchers the next day.