, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp 719-727
Date: 19 Jan 2010

Maternal hormones during early pregnancy: a cross-sectional study

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Little is known about correlates of first-trimester pregnancy hormones as in most studies maternal hormones have been measured later in gestation. We examined the associations of maternal characteristics and child sex with first-trimester maternal concentrations of four hormones implicated in breast cancer: human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), α-fetoprotein (AFP), insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, and IGF-II.


About 338 serum samples donated to the Northern Sweden Maternity Cohort (NSMC), 1975–2001, during the first trimester of uncomplicated pregnancies, were analyzed for the hormones of interest as a part of a case–control study. The associations of maternal characteristics and child sex with hormone concentrations were investigated by correlation, general linear regression, and multivariate regression models.


In the first trimester, greater maternal age was inversely correlated with IGF-I and IGF-II. In comparison with women carrying their first child, already parous women had higher IGF-I but lower hCG. Greater maternal weight and smoking were inversely correlated with hCG. No differences in hormone levels by child sex were observed.


Our analyses indicated that potentially modifiable maternal characteristics (maternal weight and smoking) influence first-trimester pregnancy maternal hormone concentrations.