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Pubertal development in daughters of women with pre-eclampsia
  1. Bjorn Ogland1,2,3,
  2. Stein T Nilsen2,
  3. Michele R Forman4,
  4. Lars J Vatten2,3
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics, Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway
  2. 2Research Department, Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway
  3. 3Department of Public Health, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
  4. 4Department of Epidemiology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Bjorn Oland, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Rikshospitalet-Radiumhospitalet Medical Center, Gunnar Schelderupsvei 11d, 0485 Oslo, Norway; bogland{at}


Objective To compare clinical signs of puberty onset in daughters of pre-eclampsia and normotensive pregnancies.

Design Population based follow-up study.

Methods In a cohort of 120 daughters of pre-eclampsia pregnancies and 203 daughters of pregnancies without pre-eclampsia, pubic hair growth and breast development were assessed at 11, 12 and 13 years of age by Tanner scores and by self-assessment.

Results Compared to the normotensive group, pubic hair growth (pubarche) more often preceded breast development (thelarche) (risk ratio (RR) 2.3, 95% CI 1.3 to 4.1) and thelarche less often preceded pubarche (RR 0.8, 95% CI 0.7 to 1.0) in daughters of pre-eclampsia pregnancies. Adjustment for birth weight and body mass index in early adolescence did not substantially influence these results, but increasing severity of pre-eclampsia strengthened the differences.

Conclusions Pubarche tends to precede thelarche in daughters of pre-eclampsia pregnancies compared to daughters of normotensive pregnancies. This may reflect a stronger androgenic influence in daughters of pre-eclampsia pregnancies at the beginning of puberty.

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  • See Editorial on page 703

  • Funding This study has been funded by an internal grant from the National Cancer Institute, NIH and is a part of the MD Anderson Global Programme.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Norwegian Data Inspectorate and by the Regional Committee for Ethics in Medical Research as well as the Institutional Review Board of the National Cancer Institute of the United States.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.