Higher free testosterone in the third trimester was associated with lower abdominal circumference at birth in boys: Odense child cohort

Camilla V.B. Palm*, Anja F. Dreyer, Henriette Boye, Jan S. Jørgensen, Chunsen Wu, Frederik D. Højsager, Tina K. Jensen, Dorte Glintborg, Marianne S. Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective: To investigate associations between maternal testosterone status and offspring birth anthropometrics. Design: Population-based prospective cohort study. Setting: University Hospital. Population: 1486 mother–child dyads from Odense Child Cohort. Methods: Maternal blood samples were collected at gestational weeks 27–30 and free testosterone (FT) levels were calculated using the Vermeulen equation from total testosterone (TT) analysed by mass spectrometry and sex hormone binding globulin. Associations between FT or TT levels and birth anthropometrics were analysed with multiple linear regression models according to offspring sex with adjustment for maternal age, parity, smoking and educational level. Analyses were repeated with polycystic ovary syndrome as exposure for offspring birth anthropometrics. Main outcome measures: Offspring birth weight (BW), birth length, abdominal and head circumferences. Results: Maternal mean (SD) age was 30.2 (4.5) years and pre-pregnancy body mass index was 23.5 (5.3) kg/m2. In boys (n = 787), higher FT was associated with lower birth weight (adjusted doubling constant = −65.53, P = 0.010), shorter birth length (adjusted doubling constant = −0.43, P < 0.001), and lower abdominal circumference (adjusted doubling constant = −0.39, P < 0.001); Higher TT was associated with lower abdominal circumference (adjusted doubling constant = −0.25, P = 0.028). In girls, no associations were found between maternal FT or TT and offspring anthropometrics. Conclusions: Higher maternal free testosterone exposure was linked to reduced birth weight, length and abdominal circumference in boys, whereas girls were not susceptible to maternal testosterone exposure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)36-45
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • endocrinology
  • epidemiology, perinatal
  • fetal medicine, fetal physiology
  • medical disorders in pregnancy
  • paediatrics, neonatal
  • reproductive science, polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Prospective Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Pregnancy
  • Birth Weight
  • Testosterone
  • Maternal Age
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Infant, Newborn


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