Hormone concentrations during early foetal development are significantly affected by maternal age and BMI rather than lifestyle. The study was published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal. “Hormones in early development play a key role in human health and disease risk.
The researchers looked at the concentrations of estrogens and testosterone in 548 healthy women in the first trimester of pregnancy in relation to their lifestyle to better understand what drives elevated sex hormones during foetal development.Most of the women were married, well-educated and had an average age of 31. Less than five per cent drank alcohol and less than eight per cent smoked.
The researchers found that older mothers and women who had previously given birth had lower oestrogen and testosterone levels. And, heavier women had lower oestrogen levels, but higher testosterone levels than leaner women.
The study found no variation in maternal hormone concentrations, in relation to foetal gender, stressful life events during pregnancy or lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol use, suggesting that hormone concentrations were not influenced by maternal behaviours or the gender of the foetus.