Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stress Hormone Levels Predict Length Of Gestation In Human Pregnancy

Date:
October 15, 1998
Source:
University Of Kentucky Medical Center
Summary:
Levels of a stress hormone, corticoptropin-releasing hormone (CRH), measured in mothers in the early third trimester of pregnancy may predict the length of gestation and preterm delivery, according to a study by a University of Kentucky researcher working in collaboration with scientists at the University of California, Irvine.

Levels of a stress hormone, corticoptropin-releasing hormone (CRH), measured in mothers in the early third trimester of pregnancy may predict the length of gestation and preterm delivery, according to a study by a University of Kentucky researcher working in collaboration with scientists at the University of California, Irvine. The findings are reported in today's American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Related Articles


Previous studies have implicated maternal stress as an important risk factor of prematurity-related outcomes, such as preterm birth and low birthweight. CRH, a hormone released primarily in the brain, is known to play a central role in regulating the body's hormonal and immune responses to internal and external challenges, including stress. During pregnancy, CRH is also synthesized in large amounts by the placenta and is released into maternal and fetal circulatory systems.

In previous studies, elevated levels of maternal CRH have been associated with the presence of medical complications in pregnancy and with preterm labor. It was not clear, however, whether CRH was a marker of complications or whether the CRH played a role in influencing the timing of onset of labor.

Researchers sought to determine whether elevated levels of CRH were a predictor of preterm labor and delivery, and if the effects of CRH on the timing of delivery were independent from those of medical complications during pregnancy.

"Our results indicated that women with higher CRH levels at 28 to 30 weeks gestation delivered earlier and were more likely to deliver preterm," said Pathik D. Wadhwa, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral science, obstetrics and gynecology, and psychology, UK College of Medicine.

Sixty-three pregnant women had blood drawn during the early third trimester - 28 to 30 weeks of gestation. Blood samples were measured for CRH and medical risk factors for prematurity were assessed from the women's medical records. The women were divided into groups based on presence or absence of spontaneous labor and the presence or absence of medical conditions that placed them at risk for preterm delivery.

Study results indicated that although women in the high-risk group had higher CRH levels, among women who delivered following spontaneous labor, the effects of maternal CRH levels on preterm delivery were statistically independent of those from medical risk. Among women who delivered following induced labor or cesarean delivery, maternal CRH levels were not an independent predictor of preterm delivery, but predicted preterm delivery via their association with medical risk.

Preterm birth is one of the most significant problems in maternal-child health in the United States today, Wadhwa said. It is the leading cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity, and has a high incidence in the United States - 10 percent of all births, the highest rate in all developed nations. Although advances in medical technology have improved survival, the rate of preterm delivery has not decreased in 40 years.

Wadhwa believes the study results indicate that placental CRH is potentially implicated in the timing of human delivery in at least two ways. First, placental CRH may play a role in the timing of onset of normal labor. Early or accelerated activation of the placental CRH system may, therefore, result in earlier onset of spontaneous labor and delivery. Second, placental CRH also may be a marker of medical risk conditions for preterm delivery, and therefore may be an indirect predictor of earlier delivery.

Wadhwa and colleagues are continuing research at the University of Kentucky and the University of California to examine the effects of elevated maternal CRH levels and the rate of change of those levels during pregnancy as a predictor of prematurity and other adverse fetal and infant developmental outcomes. The study was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Kentucky Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Kentucky Medical Center. "Stress Hormone Levels Predict Length Of Gestation In Human Pregnancy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 October 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981015080456.htm>.
University Of Kentucky Medical Center. (1998, October 15). Stress Hormone Levels Predict Length Of Gestation In Human Pregnancy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981015080456.htm
University Of Kentucky Medical Center. "Stress Hormone Levels Predict Length Of Gestation In Human Pregnancy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/10/981015080456.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins