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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 1996 Apr;65(2):181-7.

Prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol and the mother-daughter relationship.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cochin-Port-Royal Hospital, Paris, France.


The psychological consequences resulting from the exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES), a non-steroidal oestrogen, on the mother-daughter relationship are studied using semi-directive interviews with 43 daughters and 7 mothers treated with DES during their pregnancies. These women referred to gynaecological consultation for DES-related problems. The daughters, exposed to DES during their foetal life, learned about DES after a pregnancy mishap (35% of the cases), or by accident (65% of the cases). All of them were shocked when the existence of DES and its side effects were revealed to them. Consequences on the mother-daughter relationship were absent in 60% of the cases, favourable in 20%, and negative in 20%. Five percent of the women showed hostility towards the medical practice, but 65% were not suspicious of the drugs administered to them during their pregnancies. For 64% of them, administration of DES to their mother had been kept secret. In 7 out of 50 cases, parents alone came for medical assistance in order to manage the secret. Exposure to DES may reveal pre-existing difficulties not only between the mother and the daughter, but sometimes beyond from generation to generation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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