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Pubertal development in daughters of women with pre-eclampsia

Abstract

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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