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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2011 May;36(4):588-91. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.09.005.

Maternal salivary cortisol differs by fetal sex during the second half of pregnancy.

Author information

1
Department of Population, Family & Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe St., W1033, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. jdipietr@jhsph.edu

Abstract

Maternal salivary cortisol was measured at weekly intervals from 24 to 38 weeks gestation. The total sample consisted of 120 women enrolled in staggered intervals in such a way as to generate weekly measures of salivary cortisol during the latter half of pregnancy. Hierarchical linear modeling revealed the expected increase in unbound maternal cortisol during this period, with a slight deceleration in rate of increase at 33 weeks gestation. Women carrying male fetuses had higher levels of salivary cortisol initially as compared to women carrying female fetuses; at 30 weeks gestation there was cross-over such that higher maternal cortisol was observed in women carrying female fetuses beyond this time and through term. Results highlight the importance of considering fetal sex as a moderator of contemporaneous and predictive associations between maternal cortisol and prenatal or postnatal development.

PMID:
20940089
PMCID:
PMC3021768
DOI:
10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.09.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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