For healthcare professionals only

Research Article

Increasing saliva (free) oestriol to progesterone ratio in late pregnancy: a role for oestriol in initiating spontaneous labour in man?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 289 doi: (Published 25 August 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;289:457
  1. H H McGarrigle,
  2. G C Lachelin


    Oestriol and progesterone concentrations were measured in samples of saliva obtained daily from six normal women during the final four weeks before the spontaneous onset of labour. Progesterone concentrations were found to plateau whereas oestriol concentrations continued to rise so that the mean ratio of saliva oestriol to progesterone increased from 0.80 to 1.43 between 29 days and one day before labour. Saliva oestriol concentrations were 15 times higher than saliva oestradiol concentrations. As saliva steroid concentrations reflect the unbound unconjugated (free) plasma steroid concentrations these data suggest that a changing ratio of oestriol to progesterone may play a part in initiating spontaneous labour in man.