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Original Paper

Prenatal Stress: Course and Interrelation of Emotional and Physiological Stress Measures

Rothenberger S.E.a · Moehler E.a · Reck C.b · Resch F.a

Author affiliations

aClinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and bClinic of Psychiatry, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

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Psychopathology 2011;44:60–67

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: December 18, 2009
Accepted: July 13, 2010
Published online: November 11, 2010
Issue release date: January 2011

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 3

ISSN: 0254-4962 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-033X (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/PSP

Abstract

Background: Prenatal stress is known to be a potential risk factor for cognitive, behavioural and motor development that even last until adolescence. A consensus of how ‘prenatal stress’ can be measured, in which trimester of pregnancy women should be studied and whether subjective feelings of being stressed are associated with a hormonal response is still lacking. To close this gap, a prospective longitudinal study was conducted in pregnant women. Sampling and Methods: 108 subjects were asked to fill out questionnaires concerning pregnancy-related anxiety, perceived stress, marital satisfaction, critical life events and to collect salivary cortisol in each trimester of pregnancy. Results: Fear of giving birth increases until the end of pregnancy, and marital satisfaction is highest at the end of pregnancy. Perceived stress is related to a hormonal response in cortisol only in the first (r = 0.18, p < 0.10) and second (r = 0.18, p < 0.10) trimesters of pregnancy. Critical life events are linked to raised cortisol levels in early pregnancy only (r = 0.28, p < 0.01). Conclusion: Prenatal stress can be operationalized by using different subjective as well as physiological stress measures. Only in the first half of pregnancy self-report and physiological stress measures seem to be associated.

© 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel


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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: December 18, 2009
Accepted: July 13, 2010
Published online: November 11, 2010
Issue release date: January 2011

Number of Print Pages: 8
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 3

ISSN: 0254-4962 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-033X (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/PSP


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