Background: Oxidative stress is associated with poor perinatal outcomes. Little is known regarding the longitudinal levels of oxidative stress in the perinatal period or the correlation between maternal and neonatal oxidative stress levels. Objective: Describe and compare oxidative stress, specifically superoxide, superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione levels, over the perinatal period. Study Design: Longitudinal descriptive design using a convenience sample of medically high- and low-risk pregnant women (n = 140) from a maternal–fetal medicine and general obstetrics practice, respectively. Blood was obtained from women at 12–20 and 24–28 weeks’ gestation and during labor, from the umbilical cord at birth, and from neonates at 24–72 hr after birth. Levels of superoxide were measured using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy; antioxidants (superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione) were measured using commercial assay kits. Relationships between oxidative stress levels at different time points were examined using nonparametric methods. Pregnancy outcome was collected. Results: Demographic variables, outcome variables, and oxidative stress levels in maternal blood, cord blood, and infants differed between medically high- and low-risk women. Descriptive patterns for oxidative stress measures varied over time and between risk groups. Significant correlations between time points were noted, suggesting intraindividual consistency may exist throughout the perinatal period. However, these correlations were not consistent across each medical risk group. Conclusion: EPR spectroscopy is a feasible method for the perinatal population. Results provide new information on perinatal circulating superoxide levels and warrant further investigation into potential relationships between prenatal and neonatal physiologic dysregulation of oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-494
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Research for Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • allostatic load
  • antioxidants
  • perinatal
  • redox
  • superoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory


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