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Hum Reprod. 2001 Dec;16(12):2540-5.

Plasma prolactin/oestradiol ratio at 38 weeks gestation predicts the duration of lactational amenorrhoea.

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1
Department of Endocrinología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Fully breastfeeding women experience an amenorrhoea of variable duration. Our aim was to identify in pregnancy, endocrine markers that could predict the duration of subsequent lactational amenorrhoea.

METHODS:

We studied 17 healthy women at 34 and 38 weeks gestation, and 1 and 3 months post-partum. The women fully breastfed until 6 months post-partum. During pregnancy, prolactin (PRL), oestrogens (total oestradiol, unconjugated oestrone, unconjugated oestriol), sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S), progesterone and placental lactogen, and during post-partum PRL, oestrogens and SHBG, were measured. Free oestradiol in pregnancy and post-partum was calculated.

RESULTS:

Ten women experienced long (>6 months) and seven experienced short (<6 months) lactational amenorrhoea. At 38 weeks gestation, the women who experienced a long lactational amenorrhoea had twice as much PRL, about half the total oestradiol, lower SHBG concentration (P < 0.05, Student's t-test, Bonferroni modification) and similar free oestradiol concentration, compared with those who experienced short lactational amenorrhoea. The difference in PRL concentration persisted in post-partum postsuckling samples.

CONCLUSION:

At 38 weeks gestation, the ratio PRL/oestradiol identified all individual women according to the subsequent duration of their lactational amenorrhoea, suggesting that duration of lactational amenorrhoea is conditioned during pregnancy.

PMID:
11726571
DOI:
10.1093/humrep/16.12.2540
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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