Prenatal cortisol, prematurity and low birthweight

Tiffany Field, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Miguel Diego, Barbara Figueiredo, Saul Schanberg, Cynthia Kuhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Three hundred depressed pregnant women were recruited at approximately 20 weeks gestation. They were then divided by a median split into high and low urinary cortisol level groups. The high cortisol group had higher CES-D depression scores and higher inhibition (BIS) scores prenatally. Their fetuses had smaller head circumference, abdominal circumference, biparietal diameter and fetal weight. The high cortisol group neonates were shorter gestational age and lower birthweight and they had lower Brazelton habituation and higher Brazelton reflex scores. Discriminant function analyses suggested that cortisol levels more accurately classified short gestation and low birthweight groups than CES-D depression scores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-275
Number of pages8
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Cortisol
  • Depression
  • Prematurity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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