Maternal and Neonatal Hair Cortisol Levels Are Associated with Infant Neurodevelopment at Six Months of Age
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Caparros-Gonzalez, R. A., Romero-Gonzalez, B., Gonzalez-Perez, R., Lucena-Prieto, L., Perez-Garcia, M., Cruz-Quintana, F., & Peralta-Ramirez, M. I. (2019). Maternal and Neonatal Hair Cortisol Levels Are Associated with Infant Neurodevelopment at Six Months of Age. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(11), 2015.
SponsorshipThis work was supported by the I+D Project “PSI2015-63494-P” of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation; co-supported by funds/European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) a way to build Europe (MIPR). In addition, B.R.-G. has been awarded with an individual research grant (Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, FPI Program (research professional training Program), reference number BES-2016-077619).
Background: Maternal stress during pregnancy can affect fetal development during certain sensitive periods. Objective: To longitudinally assess maternal hair cortisol levels during pregnancy, and the postpartum along with neonatal hair cortisol levels that could be associated with infant neurodevelopment at six months of age. Methods: A sample of 41 pregnant women longitudinally assessed during the first, second, and third trimester and the postpartum, along with their 41 full-term neonates participated in this study. Hair cortisol levels were assessed from participants. Infant neurodevelopment was assessed by means of the Bayley Scale of Infants Development, Third Edition at age six months. Results: Maternal hair cortisol levels in the first and second trimester accounted for 24% and 23%, respectively, of variance of infant gross motor development (p < 0.05). Maternal hair cortisol levels during the postpartum accounted for 31% of variance of infant cognitive development (p < 0.05), and 25% of variance of infant gross motor development (p < 0.05). Neonatal hair cortisol levels accounted for 28% of variance of infant gross motor development (p < 0.05). Conclusions: The preconception and prenatal time are sensitive periods related to infant neurodevelopment along with the cortisol levels surrounding the fetus while in the womb. Pregnant women could be assessed for hair cortisol levels while attending a prenatal appointment.