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J Turk Ger Gynecol Assoc. 2019 Nov 28;20(4):218-223. doi: 10.4274/jtgga.galenos.2019.2019.0010. Epub 2019 Jul 12.

The relationship between stress during pregnancy with leptin and cortisol blood concentrations and complications of pregnancy in the mother

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Department of Midwifery & Reproductive Health Research Center, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran
Islamic Azad University Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery Bonab, Miandoab, Iran



Pregnancy is one of the most stressful periods a woman experiences in her life. The present study was an attempt to determine the relationship between maternal stress during pregnancy and cortisol plus maternal serum leptin concentrations as well as pregnancy outcomes.

Material and Methods:

This longitudinal study was conducted on 90 pregnant women in Miandoab city between 2015 and 2016. The samples were chosen from mothers with a gestational age of 24 to 28 weeks. The participants were asked to complete Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and a demographic questionnaire and blood samples were taken from them. The mothers were then tracked with four-week intervals until the time of delivery and were asked to complete Cohen’s PSS each time along with a questionnaire related to maternal outcomes. Again, a blood sample was taken at the time of delivery. Data analysis was performed using SPSS 16. Descriptive statistics, Pearson’s correlation coefficient, and the t-test were employed for analysis.


A significant relationship was found between maternal stress and preeclampsia (p=0.008). The relationships between preterm childbirth and maternal cortisol concentrations in weeks 24-28 (p=0.015), and between preterm childbirth and maternal leptin concentrations at the time of delivery (p=0.007) were also found to be significant.


Pregnancy and labor, as physically and mentally stressful events, can affect women’s physiologic and psychological indicators. As a consequence, during pregnancy, the cortisol and leptin index changes in response to the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and autonomic nervous system under stress.


Stress; cortisol; leptin; pregnancy complications

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