Catecholamine levels in pregnant physicians and nurses: a pilot study of stress and pregnancy

Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Mar;77(3):338-42.


As a pilot study of occupational stress and pregnancy, we measured urinary catecholamine excretion in ten pregnant physicians and three intensive care nurses between 26-37 weeks' gestation, once during a work day and again during a non-work day. Urinary catecholamines were increased by 58% (P less than .03) during work periods compared with non-work periods. Catecholamine levels were also increased by 64% (P less than .025) over those of a working non-physician control group of similar gestational age. Urinary catecholamine levels are a direct reflection of plasma catecholamine levels. Catecholamine levels are known to increase with physical stress, such as standing, and with mental stress, such as difficult problem-solving. Catecholamines are also known to decrease uterine blood flow. Measurement of catecholamines may be a helpful marker in investigating the relationship between occupation and pregnancy outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Catecholamines / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nurses*
  • Physicians, Women*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy / urine*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Stress, Psychological / urine*
  • Work*


  • Catecholamines