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Obstet Gynecol. 1993 Nov;82(5):821-8.

Elevated first-trimester serum relaxin concentrations in pregnant women following ovarian stimulation predict prematurity risk and preterm delivery.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, New Jersey Medical School, Newark.



To determine whether ovarian stimulation would result in higher circulating relaxin concentrations and whether this hyperrelaxinemia would be associated with prematurity.


Two groups of women were studied: 1) women achieving pregnancy after ovarian stimulation (n = 114) and 2) women achieving pregnancy without treatment (n = 37). Serum was obtained at 6-12 weeks' gestational age; fetal number was determined by transvaginal ultrasound. Prematurity risk or preterm delivery was determined from the obstetric record. A specific human relaxin enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to measure serum relaxin concentrations. Hyperrelaxinemia was defined as levels greater than 3 standard deviations above the weighted mean of levels in normal unstimulated singleton pregnancies at 6-12 weeks' gestation.


An association was found between prematurity risk or premature delivery and peripheral relaxin concentrations during weeks 6-12 of pregnancy in women having ovarian stimulation and in women having multiple gestations. Circulating relaxin concentrations greater than 16 ng/mL in women having ovarian stimulation and levels greater than 7 ng/mL in women who had multiple gestations predicted prematurity risk or premature delivery in 50% of the women.


These data demonstrate that after ovarian stimulation, some women have highly elevated circulating first-trimester relaxin concentrations. First-trimester hyperrelaxinemia identifies a group of women at risk for prematurity who can be monitored aggressively.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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