The relationship of maternal anxiety, plasma catecholamines, and plasma cortisol to progress in labor

Regina P. Lederman, Edward Lederman, Bruce A. Work, Daisy S. McCann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

238 Scopus citations


The relationships among maternal anxiety, selected stress-related biochemical factors, and progress in three defined phases of labor were determined for 32 married, normal, primigravid women 20 to 32 years of age. Comparisons of plasma epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol in third-trimester pregnancy, during labor, and after delivery are provided. At the onset of Phase 2 of labor (3 cm. of cervical dilatation), self-reported anxiety and endogenous plasma epinephrine are significantly correlated. With the deletion of subjects to control for the effect of medications, higher epinephrine levels are significantly associated with lower uterine contractile activity at the onset of Phase 2 and with longer labor in Phase 2 (3 to 10 cm. of cervical dilatation). The relationship between epinephrine and progress in labor is explained by an adrenoreceptor theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-500
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 1978


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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