Steroid hormone levels in pregnancy and 1 year postpartum using isotope dilution tandem mass spectrometry

Offie P. Soldin, Tiedong Guo, Elisabete Weiderpass, Rochelle E. Tractenberg, Leena Hilakivi-Clarke, Steven J. Soldin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Objective: To establish normal, trimester-specific reference intervals for serum 17β-estradiol, progesterone (P), 17α-hydroxyprogesterone, cortisol, 11-deoxycortisol, androstenedione, DHEA, and DHEAS, measured simultaneously using isotope dilution tandem mass spectrometry. Design: Sequential cohort study. Patient(s): Healthy women undergoing a normal pregnancy (age, 25-38 years; mean, 30 years) attending a prenatal well clinic at gestation weeks 12, 22, and 32 and approximately 1 year postpartum. Main Outcome Measure(s): Trimester-specific reference intervals of endogenous steroid hormones analyzed using an isotope dilution tandem mass spectrometer equipped with an atmospheric pressure photoionization source with deuterium-labeled internal standards. Result(s): Serum estradiol, P, 17α- hydroxyprogesterone, and 11-deoxycortisol increased throughout pregnancy; cortisol increased up to the second trimester and then remained steady, while androstenedione increased by 80 percent by gestation week 12, then remained constant. Serum DHEA-S decreased by 50% by the third trimester. Conclusion(s): Trimester-specific reference intervals are reported for eight serum steroids. The ratios of individual serum hormone concentrations during pregnancy relative to their 1-year postpartum concentrations illustrate the expected normal trends of changes in hormone concentrations during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)701-710
Number of pages10
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Androstenedione
  • Cortisol
  • DHEA
  • Estradiol
  • Hormones
  • Isotope dilution tandem mass spectrometry
  • Progesterone
  • Reference intervals
  • Steroids


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