Now That You are Pregnant, Did You Forget To Check Your Testosterone Levels?

Now that you are pregnant there are a flurry of tests your gyno is going to want to get, and we think about testing our blood type and checking for anemia and infections, but hormone testing? Did we need to check those? During fertility treatments and with patients having early pregnancy problems it’s very common to check progesterone levels, and occasionally we do use estrogen level checks. But checking testosterone or other male hormone levels has been typically reserved for the woman who is having irregular cycles, extra hair growth, changes in sexual function or acne problems, and largely ignored once women get pregnant. A group of Stanford University research physicians working in their department of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility began to wonder about the birthing problems they saw in their most infertile patient population: patients getting in vitro fertilization (IVF). In these patients babies that had more stillbirths, and early infant deaths, more preterm deliveries and more low and small birth weight babies than the group that did not have trouble getting pregnant. These findings have been known, but why IVF pregnancies are more at risk just hasn’t been completely understood, so the researchers asked if there were variations in the hormone testosterone in early pregnancy that could account for some of these pregnancy problems. Most think that these early pregnancy problems are due to problems with implantation or the chromosomes of the fertilized egg. Interestingly, they did find changes in testosterone when women get fertility treatments; the fertility treatments caused patients to have higher testosterone. But in their group they couldn’t specifically link the higher testosterone to problems with the pregnancies. So you may not need a testosterone test, but maybe it can explain some of those hormonal feelings, the sex drive, the acne, the nausea? Just saying.

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