Aim: To examine the relationship between maternal stress in early pregnancy and cord-blood ferritin concentration.
Methods: The sample consisted of 140 pregnant women who lived in a region that was under rocket attack during a military operation (December 2008 to January 2009). Mothers in the stress group (n=63) were in their first trimester during this period. Mothers in the control group (n=77) became pregnant 4–5 months after the attacks ended. Maternal subjective stress was reported retrospectively. Cord-blood ferritin concentration was compared between stress and control groups, and was the dependent variable in a hierarchical multiple regression analysis.
Results: The mean cord-blood ferritin concentration was lower in the stress group compared to the control group (145.7±62.0 vs. 169.3±85.4 ng/mL, P<0.05). The cumulative distribution of cord-blood ferritin showed a shift to the left for the stress group. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed that maternal subjective stress was a predictor for cord-blood ferritin concentration (hierarchical regression: β=–0.18, P<0.05), especially in the stress group (simple slope analysis: β=–0.32, P<0.01).
Conclusion: Maternal stress during the first trimester of pregnancy is associated with lower cord-blood ferritin concentration.