Research: Our research focus is the potential impact of environmental contamination on reproductive outcome. Because of our specialization in Maternal and Fetal Medicine, we have been primarily interested in the potential effects of these environmental contaminants on obstetrical and perinatal outcomes. Our initial studies have involved identifying maternal levels of selected contaminants known to be prevalent in the waters and sediment of the Charleston harbor. Specific questions asked include whether racial disparities exist in maternal exposure, the relationship between maternal exposure and distance from known contaminant sites, the impact of other maternal sociodemographic variables on exposure, and the degree of maternal to fetal transfer of these specific contaminants. Another research interest involves the potential affect of endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDC) in the environment on the developing fetus. Following up on some provocative animal studies, we plan to investigate the association between early pregnancy maternal exposure to bisphenol A and phthalates and maldevelopment of the male fetal genitalia. We will use advanced obstetrical sonography to measure penile length, width, and volume in the fetus between 18 and 22 weeks gestation in association with maternal serum and urine levels of these EDCs. At birth we will collect fetal cord blood to directly assay for fetal levels of both bisphenol A and phthalates, as well as directly measure the newborn genitals. While our specific focus is in obstetrical manifestations, we also hope to collaborate with neonatology, pediatrics, reproductive endocrinology and infertility to extend our studies to investigate the potential impact of these environmental contaminants on fertility, early pregnancy loss, neurodevelopmental outcomes, childhood susceptibility to infectious disease and child and adolescent development. We will search for potential mechanisms of action for these contaminants such as endocrine disruption, inflammatory affects, immune system modulation, etc. Finally, as director Maternal-Fetal-Medicine Fellowship, we plan to continue to recruit fellows interested in the reproductive consequences of environment contamination.
Selected Publications: 1. Sullivan SA, Hill EG, Newman RB, Menard MK. Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist density is inversely associated with maternal mortality ratios. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2005; 193: 1083-8.
2. Rittenberg C, Sullivan S, Istwan N, Rhea D, Stanziano G, Newman R. Clinical characteristics of women prescribed 17 alpha-hydroxy-progesterone caproate in the community setting. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2007; 197: 262.e1-262.e4.
3. Roman H, Goffinet F, Hulsey TF, Newman R, Robillard PY, Hulsey TC. Maternal body mass index at delivery and risk of cesarean due to dystocia in low risk pregnancies. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 200; 87: 163-170.
4. Newman RB, Iams JD, Das A, et al for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Network of Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units. A prospective masked observational study of uterine contraction frequency in twins. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2006; 195:1564-70.
5. Platz EA, Newman RB. Diagnosis of IUGR: Traditional Biometry. Seminar Perinatol 2008; 32: 140-147.