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Hypertension. 2006 Feb;47(2):203-8. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

Time course of maternal plasma volume and hormonal changes in women with preeclampsia or fetal growth restriction.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Sandiago, Chile.


We tested the hypothesis that women with idiopathic fetal growth restriction (FGR) or preeclampsia (PE) have lower concentrations of some water-retaining hormones, such as aldosterone and estradiol, either preceding or concomitant with the onset of the reduced plasma volume described in these women. Plasma volume and serum concentrations of estradiol, progesterone, and aldosterone were measured serially at monthly intervals in 135 pregnant women from week 10 until term. Twenty-three developed idiopathic FGR, 17 had PE, and 95 remained normotensive and delivered normal-size infants (controls). Changes over time for each variable were studied using mixed models. Maternal age, parity, and weight/height at term were similar in all of the groups. Birth weight, body length, and ponderal index were lower in FGR and PE than in controls. Plasma volume increased throughout pregnancy in controls but was lower in FGR and PE from week 14 to 17 until term. Aldosterone values were lower in PE from week 26 to 29 onwards and in FGR after week 34. Progesterone concentrations were higher in PE than either control or FGR from week 18 to 21 until term. In contrast, FGR pregnancies had reduced progesterone and estradiol concentrations after week 34. Progesterone:estradiol ratio was significantly higher only in the PE group. In mothers with idiopathic FGR or PE, less expansion in plasma volume occurred before alterations in hormonal concentrations. We speculate that the early rise in progesterone may have a pathogenic role in the development of preeclampsia.

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