Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Penn Center for Women's Behavioral Wellness

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Research Studies

Research Opportunities for Pregnant Women

The Penn Center for Women’s Behavioral Wellness is currently recruiting pregnant women for the following research participation opportunities: 

  • Studies examining the impact of maternal experience on birth outcomes
  • Studies aimed at helping pregnant women experiencing depression. None of our current studies involve treatment with medication.

Click on a link below to learn more about the following studies:

Pregnancy Studies for All Pregnant Women:

Pregnancy Studies for Pregnant Women Experiencing Depression:


Maternal Adversity and Infant Stress Response Study:

This study examines how difficult life events experienced during pregnancy may impact how your infant responds to stress.  We are looking for both women who have not experienced difficult life events and women who have had to cope with unpleasant experiences.   This study is observational and does not offer any form of treatment or medication.

For this study, you will be asked to fill out forms about your physical and mental health, have 3-D ultrasounds taken of your baby’s adrenal gland, and undergo 2 or 3 tests that will measure your stress responses.  At 6 months post-delivery, your baby's developmental milestones will also be assessed.

This is a long-term study, consisting of 6 or 7 visits over the course of about 12 months. Six of the visits are required, while the 7th is optional.  If you complete all 7 visits, you may be compensated up to $275.

Please call Amy today for more information at 215-746-1158

 

 

Neuropeptides and Birth Outcomes Study:

This study evaluates the correlation between varying levels of neuropeptides and birth outcomes.  Neuropeptides are involved in proper nervous system function and they are thought to play a role in the health of newborns. Previous research by the PCWBW has found lower levels of BDNF in healthy pregnant women compared to non-pregnant women, and these lower levels may link to depression in pregnancy. Neuropeptide levels can be easily measured though a simple blood draw.

This study involves 3 visits.  At each visit, we will do a blood draw from your arm and have you fill out several questionnaires about your mental health and your life. Two of the visits will be scheduled while you are still pregnant, and the last visit will be post-delivery.  After delivery, we will look at your baby’s health.

If eligible, you may receive up to $60.

Please call Amy today for more information at 215-746-1158

 


TMS Treatment Study

This study is investigating a new treatment for depression during pregnancy called Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).  This study is funded by the National Institute of Health.

TMS is a non-invasive method used in the treatment of depressive symptoms. TMS uses electromagnetic impulses to encourage neurons in the brain to communicate more effectively with one another.  Effective neuron communication leads to the lessening of depressive symptoms.  TMS requires daily (Monday through Friday) treatment for approximately 4 weeks.

TMS is an FDA approved treatment for depression.  While the device has been FDA approved for medication resistant depression, the purpose of this study is to look at whether TMS is an effective treatment during pregnancy.  Previous research has found it to be safe for both mother and fetus.

Dr. Kim is looking for pregnant women who meet the following criteria:

  • Are between the ages of 18-39 and in good health
  • Are between 14-34 weeks pregnant upon entry into study
  • Have been diagnosed with Depression/Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

You can help researchers at the University of Pennsylvania learn more about the best way to treat depression during pregnancy by participating in this study. You may earn up to $280 if you qualify.

Please call Jessica today for more information at 215-573-8880

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You can watch a short video explaining TMS by clicking here

Click this link to watch a video about Dr. Kim's TMS research study

 


 

 

 

 

 

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Please contact our Patient Services Manager at
215-573-8886 or send an email to pcwbw@med.upenn.edu for more information.

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