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Biol Psychol. 2004 Nov;67(3):275-82.

Impact of stress reduction instructions on stress and cortisol levels during pregnancy.

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Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Hoover Pavilion, 211 Quarry Road, Stanford, CA 94305-5705, USA.


This pilot study examined whether giving stress reduction (SR) instructions to pregnant women would be effective in regulating stress, mood, and cortisol levels during pregnancy. Forty-one predominantly low-income Latina women, receiving prenatal services at a public county hospital, completed measures of stress and mood (depressive symptoms, positive and negative affect) and provided morning and evening saliva samples to measure cortisol prior to and after receiving SR instructions. We hypothesized that adherence to these SR instructions would result in lower levels of stress, negative mood states, and cortisol levels when compared to baseline values. Repeated measures ANOVA analyses demonstrated significantly lower levels of stress (P < 0.001), lower symptoms of depression and negative affect (P < 0.001), and lower levels of morning cortisol (P = 0.01) under the SR condition, compared to baseline. Health behaviors that were engaged in during the SR condition and implications for prenatal health interventions are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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