Plasma corticotropin-releasing hormone and cortisol concentrations and perceived stress among pregnant women with preterm and term birth.
We sought to determine if pregnant women with poor psychosocial status or high levels of perceived stress had higher concentrations of plasma corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) or cortisol. This was a secondary analysis of a case-controlled study nested within a multicenter, prospective observational cohort study. Plasma CRH and cortisol concentrations and the Abbreviated Scale for the Assessment of Psychosocial Status in Pregnancy (ASAPS) were available for cases and controls. Among cases and controls, concentrations of CRH and cortisol and overall performance on the ASAPS as well as the individual components of the ASAPS were compared using Kruskal-Wallis or chi-square. There was no association between CRH or cortisol concentrations and performance on the ASAPS overall. Additionally, there was no relationship between CRH or cortisol and perceived stress. In this study, biological measures of stress assessed in the second trimester were not associated with overall psychosocial status or perceived stress. The factors contributing to the elevation in CRH that precedes some preterm birth are complex and poorly understood.
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