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Julia Mackessy is a PhD candidate in the anthropology department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Notre Dame and an M.A. from UNC Chapel Hill. Before beginning her doctoral program, Julia worked as a labor doula in the Columbus, Ohio area, which sparked her interest in how the birth experience and birth process affects birth outcomes. Julia’s previous work examined how the birth experience impacted mothers’ breastfeeding outcomes in a population of non-Hispanic Black women in North Carolina. Her current research centers around both the psychosocial and physiological factors that contribute to birth outcomes such as infant HPA axis dysregulation, breastfeeding success, and maternal-infant bonding.

Research Interests

  • Maternal-infant health
  • Birth experience
  • Birth outcomes


Amanda L. Thompson, Stephanie Martin