The relation of cortisol reactivity and self‐report anxiety to perinatal outcomes was examined in a sample of 38 primiparous adolescents. Maternal cortisol and anxiety levels obtained in the first half of pregnancy and in mid‐third trimester were found to be related to the gestational age of newborns, with higher levels of cortisol and/or anxiety predicting greater chance of pre‐ or postmature birth. However, when measured over time, a greater increase in cortisol levels was more predictive of positive perinatal outcomes, such as no meconium in labor. These findings suggest that certain levels of maternal reactivity/anxiety are necessary for positive perinatal outcomes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes