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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1986 Dec;155(6):1252-4.

Hormones and cervical ripening: dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, estradiol, estriol, and progesterone.


Fetal adrenal steroids have been shown to be important in the timing of parturition. Since dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate is converted to estrogen, which is important in cervical softening, levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate together with those of estradiol, estriol, and progesterone were measured and compared in pregnant women undergoing induction of labor with ripe and unripe uterine cervices. While there were no differences between the levels of estradiol, estriol and progesterone in the two groups of women, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate was significantly elevated in the group of women with ripe cervices. These findings suggest that cervical changes preceding the onset of labor are associated with a significant elevation of maternal dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels. Changes in maternal plasma estradiol, estriol, and progesterone levels do not appear to be clinically related to cervical ripeness.

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