Objective: To establish normal, trimester-specific reference intervals for serum 17beta-estradiol, progesterone (P), 17alpha-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, 17alpha-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.