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URMC / Obstetrics & Gynecology / Research / Reproductive Period Research


Reproductive Period Research

The health of women in our lives affects us all. During the reproductive period of life from puberty through menopause, women experience many changes. We're interested in ensuring that women receive the best care possible.

Birth-Related Changes

Giving birth can be an empowering and life-changing experience. It can also affect the muscles in the pelvic floor. How these changes occur, what impact the delivery has, and how to repair any damage is the subject of research in Ob/Gyn.

Family Planning

As women enter their reproductive years, they need clear information on their options for managing their fertility and planning pregnancies. Our faculty are looking at these issues and learning all they can about them to offer the best care to patients.

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Gynecologic Oncology

This year, more than 80,000 women will discover that they have some form of gynecologic cancer. It might affect their ovaries, uterus, cervix, vulva, vagina or fallopian tubes. At the University of Rochester, we're committed to finding new ways to detect and treat gynecologic cancers.  Our faculty's research interests include ovarian cancer, with a special emphasis on the cancer stem cells, and cervical cancer, with an emphasis on early detection.
Click here for more on our care for patients with cancer.

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Health Care Disparities

The health of Americans has improved significantly, but not all Americans are benefiting from the developments in treatments, delivery of care, and knowledge. How can we ensure that everyone receives Medicine of the Highest Order? What strategies can we use to overcome barriers to treatment?

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Infertility, PCOS, and Endometriosis

Infertility can be one of the most difficult emotional situations a woman may face.  At the University of Rochester, our faculty are looking for the solutions with an emphasis on polycystic ovarian syndrome, male infertility, implantation, factors affection IVF success, endometriosis, ovarian function, menopausal health, and hormone therapy.

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We all fall ill at times in our lives, but what if we contract a more serious infection? Our faculty are looking into these infections, how they affect pregnancies, and how best to treat them from multiple angles, with special emphasis on food bourne illnesses and MRSA.

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Menarche and Pubertal Development

As girls mature through puberty and reach menarche (her first menstrual period), a wide variety of changes are taking place in her body. How is the timing of these events determined? What environmental, social, and physiological factors influence this important change?

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Nutrition and Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

We all know that proper nutrition, ideal weight gain, exercise, and sleep are important during pregnancy, but what constitutes proper nutrition, ideal weight gain, and all the other things that expectant mothers should consider? We're studying all these issues to ensure that patients receive the very best information and care. We're looking at smoking, substance abuse, vitamin D, and iron. We're improving diabetes care during pregnancy, and we're learning everything we can to increase health during this time of change.

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Pharmaceuticals in Pregnancy

During pregnancy, most women are advised to avoid pharmaceuticals.  However, when it becomes unavoidable, with little research in the field, how can women and their physicians know what's safe and when in the pregnancy it's safe?  The University of Rochester is working to find the answers.  With an emphasis on the placenta and how particles such as pharmaceuticals, metals, vitamins and nanoparticles cross this organ, our researchers are discovering how pharmaceuticals affect the mother and the fetus during pregnancy.


The Perinatal Environmental and Drug Consultation Service (New York Teratogen Information Service) in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center was begun in 1987 and provides expertise concerning exposures during pregnancy or before pregnancy to environmental, occupational and therapeutic exposures to the women and/or family. Dr. Miller, director of the program, has co-edited a volume on these subjects entitled, "Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation - Treatment Options and Risk Assessment". Dr. Miller provides these services to health care providers and families by telephone or by appointment. Please call (585) 275-3839 (M-F, 8:00am - 4:00pm).

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External Resources

Preeclampsia, Bleeding During Pregnancy, and Preterm Labor

Because of the tremendous advances in the care of sick and premature babies, more and more babies are surviving despite being born early and being very small. However, prevention of early birth is the best way of promoting good health for babies. Researchers at the University of Rochester are focused on finding and preventing the causes of in utero growth restriction, preeclampsia, preterm labor and related complications such as premature rupture of membranes (PROM), chorioamnionitis, and adverse fetal outcomes.

Interested Faculty:

Pregnancy Outcomes

Faculty at the University of Rochester are studying the epidemiology of various pregnancy outcomes with an eye toward understanding the causes behind these patterns.

Associated Studies

  • The Study for Future Families (SFF) This multi-part, birth cohort study is looking at prenatal exposures to a wide variety of common chemicals such as phthalates and BPA and how those exposures affect childhood development and outcomes.
  • The Infant Development and Environment Study (TIDES) TIDES is a study about how everyday chemicals in food, cosmetics, and household products may affect children’s health and development.  TIDES researchers are particularly interested in how the mother’s exposure to these chemicals while pregnant may affect children before they are born, so the study will follow pregnant women and their babies. 

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Social and Psychosocial Factors in Pregnancy

Many factors are a part of healthy pregnancies, from eating right, to exercise and proper sleep.  But sometimes women forget how social and psychosocial factors such as anxiety or depression affect their health and the health of their pregnancy.  Recent research is highlighting the effects social and psychosocial factors have on the health of pregnancies and of children later in life.

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