Life stresses and premature labor: Real connection or artifactual findings?

H. Omer, D. Friedlander, Z. Palti, I. Shekel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three studies were conducted to investigate the relationship between life stresses and premature labor. A retrospective study executed between 3 and 9 months after delivery in cases with the baby in good health showed no difference in life events between the premature labor and control groups. A prospective study showed a slightly positive relationship between life-events questionnaires and premature contractions in pregnancy. It was suggested, however, that these results might be due not to real life stresses, but to the presence of psychopathologic tendencies in women at risk for premature contractions. A real-life study showed that the stress of the Yom Kippur War was linked to a decrease in the incidence of premature deliveries. Future research should avoid the pitfalls of retrospective studies carried out close to the time of delivery. More effort should be spent on prospective studies in spite of the difficulties. The need to investigate the effect of real-life stresses is felt. For this purpose the area of community disasters may provide a fruitful field of study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-373
Number of pages12
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes


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