Association between preterm birth and increased maternal plasma cortisol concentrations

M. Mazor, W. Chaim, R. Hershkowitz, J. Levy, J. R. Leiberman, M. Glezerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective: To measure the amniotic fluid (AF) and plasma concentrations of cortisol in women with preterm labor and intact membranes. Methods: Thirty-eight normal healthy women with single-ton gestations, preterm labor, and intact membranes at 32-36 weeks’ gestation underwent amniocentesis for evaluation of the microbiologic status of the amniotic cavity. Nineteen women delivered within 1 week of amniocentesis (preterm labor and delivery group), and 19 delivered at term (preterm labor and term delivery group). Maternal plasma and AF concentrations of cortisol were measured with sensitive and specific, commercially available radioimmunoassay kits. Results: The median plasma cortisol concentration was significantly higher in women who delivered prematurely than in those who delivered at term (260 versus 240 ng/mL; P =.014). However, no significant differences in median AF cortisol concentrations were detected between the groups (13 versus 14 ng/mL). Conclusions: Although maternal plasma cortisol concentrations were significantly higher in women with preterm birth, no similar changes were found in the AF. The rise in maternal plasma cortisol may be related to the stress mechanism of labor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-524
Number of pages4
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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