Job stress: a risk for pregnant workers?A pilot study indicates that pregnant women in high-stress jobs secrete secrete /se·crete/ (se-kret´) to elaborate and release a secretion.
To generate and separate a substance from cells or bodily fluids. elevated amounts of catecholamines Catecholamines
Family of neurotransmitters containing dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine, produced and secreted by cells of the adrenal medulla in the brain. , the socalled "fight-or-flight" hormones. Some scientists suspect that elevated blood levels of these hormones can sometimes trigger premature labor Premature Labor Definition
Premature labor is the term to describe contractions of the uterus that begin at weeks 20-36 of a pregnancy.
Description and early delivery of very small babies, who risk breathing troubles and other serious health problems.
The new report may help explain previous findings linking stressful jobs with an increased threat of premature labor and delivery of low-birthweight babies. Experiments with pregnant animals have shown that elevated catecholamine catecholamine (kăt'əkôl`əmēn), any of several compounds occurring naturally in the body that serve as hormones or as neutrotransmitters in the sympathetic nervous system. levels can decrease blood flow to the uterus, in some cases leading to premature labor.
Obstetrician obstetrician /ob·ste·tri·cian/ (ob?ste-trish´in) one who practices obstetrics.
A physician who specializes in obstetrics. Vern L. Katz noticed among his patients that pregnant physicians with demanding work schedules seemed to deliver prematurely more often than women in less stressful jobs. That observation prompted Katz and his colleagues at the University of North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures
Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop. in Chapel Hill to explore the connection between catecholamines and stress in a study of 10 physicians and three intensive-care-unit nurses, all in their third trimester Noun 1. third trimester - time period extending from the 28th week of gestation until delivery
trimester - a period of three months; especially one of the three three-month periods into which human pregnancy is divided of pregnancy. The 13 women had jobs requiring long and irregular shifts, prolonged periods of standing, and mentally taxing duties such as decisions about patient care.
The researchers instructed the women to collect urine samples during a typical workday and again, about a week later, on a non-workday. In analyzing the urine samples, the team discovered that catecholamine levels averaged 58 percent higher on workdays than on non-workdays.
They went on to compare these levels with those of a control group of 12 women in their third trimester os pregnancy who worked in lower-stress jobs. The 12 women collected urine during a typical workday, and again the team analyzed the samples for catecholamines.
In the March Obstetrics & Gynecology, the researchers report that workday catecholamine values among the group percent higher then those of the lower-stress group.
The investigators emphasize that their small study is only a pilot and does not settle the troubling question of whether on-the-job stress can cause difficult pregnancies. "I certainly wouldn't want anyone to think that we've found the link between work and poor pregnancy outcome," says study co-author Watson A. Bowes Jr. Katz addst that stress may represent just one of many factors that could increase the risk of premature labor and other pregnancy problems.
Indeed, the team has yet to show that elevated levels of stress hormones in pregnant women can precipitate premature delivery premature delivery
The birth of a premature baby.
The birth of a live baby when a pregnancy ends spontaneously after the twentieth week.
Mentioned in: Stillbirth or difficulties during gestation, says obstetrics researcher A. Brian Little of McGill University in Montreal. In a larger study, Katz and his colleagues hope to determine whether catecholamine levels affect the risk of such problems.
Research reported last fall indicated that highly stressed female physicians ran no greater risk of preterm preterm /pre·term/ (-term´) before completion of the full term; said of pregnancy or of an infant.
adj. delivery than a control group of women with less stressful jobs. However, the study did reveal that premature labor - which often requires bed rest or hospitalization to prevent early delivery - was twice as common among female physicians than among the controls, according to a report in the Oct. 11, 1990 New England Journal of Medicine The New England Journal of Medicine (New Engl J Med or NEJM) is an English-language peer-reviewed medical journal published by the Massachusetts Medical Society. It is one of the most popular and widely-read peer-reviewed general medical journals in the world. .
The report's lead author, Mark A. Klebanoff of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Md., concludes that working long hours in a stressful environment has "little effect on the outcome of pregnancy in an otherwise healthy population." Klebanoff concedes that increased catecholamine levels may contribute to the higher incidence of early labor found in his study, but he says further research must prove that link.