Preeclampsia occurred in 180 of 3,321 working, pregnant Norwegian women who completed a questionnaire sorting them into a cohort reporting a highly stressful and hectic work pace vs. those who never or rarely worked at a hectic pace. RR for preeclampsia in those working at a stressful pace was 1.4 vs. those who had jobs in which they did not face hectic stress (p<0.05). Those lifting loads of 22-44 pounds were almost twice as likely to develop preeclampsia vs. women who never or rarely lifted these amounts. Those drinking >4 cups of coffee/d were 60% more likely to develop preeclampsia vs. those drinking <4 cups/d (p<0.01).
Wergehad E, Strand K. Workplace Conditions and Preeclampsia and Prevalence, Norway, 1989. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 1997 Aug; 58(2):189-96
COMMENT: Knowing that stress and caffeine both raise catecholamine levels and that catecholamine metabolites increase oxidative stress, and that preeclampsia is at least in part a free-radical related problem, this stress/eclampsia relationship makes sense. The stress can be physical or psychosocial. The toxemia of pregnancy involved here may be a metaphor for the toxic nature of stress when it is not well managed.
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