Mental Health

Potential link between high maternal cortisol, unpredicted birth complications

A snippet of hair can reveal a pregnant person’s stress level and may one day help warn of unexpected birth problems, a study indicates. Researchers measured the stress hormone cortisol in hair samples of 53 women in their third trimester. Of that group, 13 women who had elevated cortisol levels later experienced unpredicted birth complications, such as an early birth or hemorrhaging. While more research is needed with larger groups, this preliminary finding could eventually lead to a non-invasive way to identify those at risk for such complications.