Several factors can influence the production of mothers' own milk
To assess the influence of maternal psychological stress, maternal cortisol
levels, and neonatal hair cortisol
levels on timing of secretory activation.
A prospective study
was conducted at 2 public health centers in Andalusia, Spain. Participants were 60 pregnant women and their 60 neonates. Hair cortisol
levels and psychological stress (pregnancy-specific stress [Prenatal Distress Questionnaire, PDQ] and perceived stress [Perceived Stress Scale, PSS]) were evaluated during the third trimester and the postpartum period. This study was part of the GESTASTRESS cohort study on the effects of stress during pregnancy.
Higher PDQ and PSS scores (P
< .05) in the third trimester were associated with later onset of secretory activation. Higher postpartum maternal hair cortisol
levels were associated with a delayed secretory activation of mother's own milk (P
Implications for Research:
Future studies should look at the influence of psychological stress and cortisol
levels on hormones involved in mother's own milk production.
Implications for Practice:
Neonatal nurses and other healthcare providers should be familiar with levels of neonates' exposure to maternal prenatal stress
prior to birth.