Associations of Maternal Testosterone and Cortisol Levels With Health Outcomes of Mothers and Their Very-Low-Birthweight Infants.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Although the roles of testosterone and cortisol in various health problems have been extensively investigated, little is known about their associations with health outcomes in mothers and their very-low-birthweight (VLBW) infants when maternal testosterone and cortisol are examined together during the postpartum period.


The 101 mother-VLBW infant pairs were recruited from the neonatal intensive care unit of a tertiary medical center in the southeastern United States. Demographic information, pregnancy and labor complications of mothers, and health and growth outcomes of infants were obtained from medical records and interviews with mothers. Maternal salivary testosterone and cortisol levels were determined using enzyme immunoassay.


Linear regression showed that mothers who were older and had a larger body mass index experienced more pregnancy complications, whereas mothers who were single and had a cesarean section experienced more labor complications. Generalized linear models showed that mothers with high cortisol levels had more antepartum hemorrhage, whereas infants of mothers with high cortisol levels had fewer neurological insults and shorter hospitalizations than other infants. More mothers experienced premature prolonged rupture of membranes (PPROM) than chorioamnionitis, and maternal medical complications were negatively associated with infant health outcomes except PPROM, which was positively associated with infant outcomes.


High maternal cortisol levels were associated with maternal health problems during pregnancy. Beneficial effects of PPROM and high maternal cortisol levels on infant health outcomes were important findings, and understanding the mechanisms of these relationships may be of practical value for clinicians and researchers.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cho, J; Su, X; Holditch-Davis, D

Published Date

  • July 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 19 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 409 - 418

PubMed ID

  • 28399640

Pubmed Central ID

  • 28399640

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-4175

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1099-8004

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/1099800417703704


  • eng