Second trimester serum cortisol and preterm birth: an analysis by timing and subtype

Gretchen Bandoli, Laura L. Jelliffe-Pawlowski, Sky K. Feuer, Liang Liang, Scott P. Oltman, Randi Paynter, Kharah M. Ross, Christine Dunkel Schetter, Kelli K. Ryckman, Christina D. Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: We hypothesized second trimester serum cortisol would be higher in spontaneous preterm births compared to provider-initiated (previously termed ‘medically indicated’) preterm births. Study design: We used a nested case-control design with a sample of 993 women with live births. Cortisol was measured from serum samples collected as part of routine prenatal screening. We tested whether mean-adjusted cortisol fold-change differed by gestational age at delivery or preterm birth subtype using multivariable linear regression. Result: An inverse association between cortisol and gestational age category (trend p = 0.09) was observed. Among deliveries prior to 37 weeks, the mean-adjusted cortisol fold-change values were highest for preterm premature rupture of the membranes (1.10), followed by premature labor (1.03) and provider-initiated preterm birth (1.01), although they did not differ statistically. Conclusion: Cortisol continues to be of interest as a marker of future preterm birth. Augmentation with additional biomarkers should be explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)973-981
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug. 2018


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