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BJOG. 2007 Feb;114(2):216-23.

Psychological and biological markers of stress and bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women.

Author information

  • 1Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA. Harville@tulane.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To determine whether stress is associated with risk of bacterial vaginosis (BV) in pregnant women.

DESIGN:

Prospective cohort study.

SETTING:

The prenatal care clinics at the University of North Carolina. The residents' clinic sees mostly government-insured and uninsured women, and the physicians' clinic sees mostly those with private health insurance.

POPULATION:

A total of 897 women gave samples for BV analysis. Study participants were 22% African-American, 68% white; 24% unmarried and 44% nulliparous. More than half had completed college.

METHODS:

Women completed two questionnaires and two interviews reporting stress and psychological aspects of their lives. Measurement scales included the Sarason life events questionnaire, the Cohen perceived stress scale, Spielberger state-trait anxiety, the John Henryism coping style and the Medical Outcomes Study social support inventory. Two stress hormones, corticotrophin-releasing hormone and cortisol, were also measured.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

BV at 15-19 and 24-29 weeks of gestation was diagnosed by Gram's stain.

RESULTS:

Women in the highest quartile of stress measures, particularly state anxiety (OR=2.0, 95% CI 1.2-3.3), perceived stress (OR=2.4, 95% CI 1.5-3.9) and total life events (OR=2.0, 95% CI 1.3-3.2), had the highest risk of BV. Adjustment for confounders, especially age, race, and income, reduced these associations (state anxiety: OR=1.3, 95% CI 0.7-2.4; perceived stress: OR=1.4, 95% CI 0.8-2.5; total life events: OR=1.3, 95% CI 0.7-2.4). No clear pattern of association was seen between stress hormones and BV.

CONCLUSIONS:

Few associations between stress and BV were seen after adjustment for confounders.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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