The 87th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2018)

How similar are women’s hormone profiles from one pregnancy to the next?


1Department of Anthropology, UCLA, 2Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, UC Irvine, 3Department of Psychology, Denver University, 4Department of Psychology, Chapman University

April 14, 2018 6, Zilker 1/2/3 Add to calendar

It is unknown how similar a woman’s hormone levels during one pregnancy are to the same woman’s hormone levels during a subsequent pregnancy. Circulating hormone concentrations during pregnancy are of major interest for understanding how reproductive life-history endocrinology affects health and development of both mother and child. Knowing whether women experience similar concentrations of hormones in each of their pregnancies can improve our estimation of lifetime (cumulative) exposures to the endocrine conditions of pregnancy. For understanding child development, many studies compare monozygotic twins, dizygotic twins, and sibling pairs to determine the contributions of genetics, intrauterine environment, and postnatal environment to phenotype. These comparisons assume highly variable intrauterine conditions in different pregnancies of the same mother, and yet the degree of similarity between siblings’ prenatal environments remains unknown. Our study aimed to investigate how consistent women’s hormone profiles are across two successive pregnancies. This longitudinal, prospective study followed a cohort of 28 women across two pregnancies, measuring at multiple timepoints women’s circulating adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), placental corticotropin-releasing hormone (pCRH), cortisol, estradiol, and progesterone. Results reveal substantial consistency from one pregnancy to another, and substantial predictability from one pregnancy to another. This is the first study to describe maternal and placental hormone levels across successive pregnancies.