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Foetal polycystic ovary risks explored

Wednesday June 13th, 2018

Smoking and obesity during pregnancy may be linked to future polycystic ovary syndrome in daughters, researchers report today.

This condition is thought to have inherited and environmental triggers. Dr Heiddis Valgeirsdottir of Uppsala University in Sweden, and her team explain that factors affecting the developing female foetus could contribute to polycystic ovary syndrome in later life.

"For instance," they write in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology today (13 June), "increased levels of testosterone during foetal life have been suggested to be involved in polycystic ovary syndrome pathogenesis."

The researchers used information from a Swedish national registry on 681,123 girls born from 1982 to 1995, and followed until 2010. During this time, just over half of one percent developed polycystic ovary syndrome.

Analysis showed that girls with mothers who were overweight or obese had 1.5 to 2 times the risk of polycystic ovary syndrome, compared with girls whose mothers were at a healthy weight.

"The risk of polycystic ovary syndrome was increased if the mother smoked during pregnancy," they add. Smoking raised the risk by 31% to 44%.

Dr Valgeirsdottir said: "The results of this study add to existing evidence that being overweight or obese during pregnancy is a risk factor for development of polycystic ovary syndrome in daughters in later life, yet so much about the cause of this condition remains unknown.

"The results also show an association between smoking in pregnancy and polycystic ovary syndrome development in daughters. While our study shows only an association, and therefore no definitive conclusions can be made about cause and effect, we would advise women to stop smoking and ensure a healthy weight in order to reduce the associated risk."

Valgeirsdottir, H. et al. Prenatal exposures and birth indices, and subsequent risk of polycystic ovary syndrome: a national registry-based cohort study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 13 June 2018; doi: 10.1111/1471-0528

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.15236/full

Tags: Child Health | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Europe | Nursing & Midwifery | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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