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In utero programming of pubertal development?
  1. Anders Juul
  1. Correspondence to Anders Juul, Department of Growth and Reproduction, Rigshospitalet section 5064, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark; anders.juul{at}

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Transition through puberty is a complex and dynamic process that depends on both genetic factors and numerous postnatal biological factors including endogenous hormones, body fat and energy consumption. However, the prenatal environment also seems to play a role in the timing of and the transition through puberty.

Ogland and colleagues1 report that pubic hair development is more likely to precede breast development in girls born from pre-eclamptic pregnancies compared to girls born from uneventful normotensive pregnancies.1 The study included follow-up examination at 11 years of age in 323 girls born from pre-eclamptic pregnancies (n=120) or normotensive pregnancies (n=203). Self-reported puberty at 12 years was noted, and a second clinical examination at 13 years of age was carried out. Simultaneous breast and pubic hair development was noted in 28% of the girls, while 72% (n=220) had either thelarche or pubarche as the first sign of puberty. Girls born from pre-eclamptic pregnancies developed pubic hair prior to breast development …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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