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Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2001 Mar;30(1):207-29.

Pregnancy outcomes in women with congenital virilizing adrenal hyperplasia.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


Although low fertility rates have traditionally been reported among women with classic CAH and especially among women with the salt-wasting variant, more recent data suggest that fertility rates are significantly improved, largely owing to earlier treatment of CAH, improved compliance with therapy, and surgical advances in genital reconstruction. Furthermore, ovulation induction and assisted reproductive techniques are now available to women who remain infertile despite effective adrenal androgen suppression. Although the pregnancy experience in women with classic CAH remains limited, it is apparent that, once pregnant, these women have a high probability of successful outcome. Key issues should be emphasized in the management of CAH during gestation, including the need for assessing adrenal steroid replacement and adrenal androgen suppression, particularly in light of the interplay between maternal hyperandrogenism and the protective effect of placental aromatase activity, which provides a relatively large margin of safety for the female fetus. Maternal hormone levels should be evaluated in the context of laboratory-specific reference ranges for pregnancy. The infant should be examined for ambiguous genitalia and monitored for evidence of adrenal insufficiency. Although an affected female infant with classic CAH has not been reported as a pregnancy outcome of a mother with classic virilizing CAH, these concerns should be discussed during preconception counseling. Patients should also be aware of the importance of medication compliance and careful hormonal monitoring during the entire pregnancy. In most cases, successful gestational management requires the close coordination of care between the obstetrician and endocrinologist.

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