What kind of therapy did my mother likely get?

(I’m not sure if this is appropriate for GQ, as I’m to a certain extent asking for (informed) speculation, so I’d be fine with a move to IMHO, if that’s its proper place.)

When my mother was pregnant with yours truly, at first, perhaps because she was already quite old, it (I) was diagnosed as a sort of hormone imbalance (obviously, I’m relying on second hand accounts here). Accordingly, she received some sort of hormone treatment.

As it became apparent that I was going to be a child after all, the doctors reportedly advised an abortion, as the treatment would likely have caused damage to the developing fetus (again, that’d be me). My parents, ultimately, decided against that (obviously), and I was born reasonably healthy, although with a tardiness that has stayed with me to this day (I hadn’t bothered to turn around before birth).

There was some talk about possible long-term effects, and one of my sisters once told me that they were instructed to watch me for possible ‘minimal brain disfunction (her words, as I recall them)’, though there’s a chance it was just her way to tell me I’m stupid. :stuck_out_tongue: About the only abnormity I’ve wondered about somewhat is my total absence of a sense of smell, however.

So, any idea what treatment she would likely have received? And what are the typical effects of such a treatment on the developing fetus?

How old are you? What time from would this have been. The answer you are seeking is probably very different if you are 20 than if you are 50.

Quite right, thanks for pointing that out. I’m 32, and this would have been in Germany, if it matters.

Possibly Medroxyprogesterone, known in the US as Provera. It and other progesterones were (and sometimes still are) believed to cause limb and heart defects in fetuses if taken early in pregnancy. Studieshave suggested that they don’t, but I got the same warnings when I was taking it and got pregnant in 1992.

The give it to young women with irregular periods, to regulate them, and to older women going into menopause, as part of Hormone Replacement Therapy.


The progesterone supplement ensured an adequate progesterone level, eg Ensured the placenta developed properly during the first trimester. It did ensure it, but its only required if there is a problem with low progesterone that results from being pregnant.
Well its speculation that your mother may have had so low natural progesterone that the pregnancy wasn’t viable without the the HRT …
(Perhaps her body was trying to miscarry…thats speculation !)

As HRT was discontinued early , even if it contained oestrogen , it didn’t affect the mid and third trimester development of the brain…

Thanks for both your answers. But, since I’m speaking out of total ignorance here, let me ask, what is it that would be administered if, hormonally, a woman seemed to be pregnant, but the doctors didn’t think that to be the case? I believe her progesteron/estrogen levels would be elevated (?), so wouldn’t she get something to counteract that, rather than additional progesterone? Or am I thinking about this the wrong way/misremembering?

Provera makes you get your period. I…I have no idea why, to be honest. I thought I had a grasp of the hormones involved, but…you’re right. I think? Progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum and later the placenta, and if the progesterone levels are too low, you get a miscarriage, and when progesterone levels get low you get your period so…why DO they give Provera to bring on a period? I have to think about that more, or maybe go take a nap.

Maybe one of our friendly Doper pharmacists will chime in with an answer.

Since this requires speculation, it’s probably better suited to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Provera doesn’t bring on a period, it does the opposite. It is used to stop bleeding in women with dysfunctional uterine bleeding. Withdrawal of progesterone can precipitate a period.

Yes, thank you! That and a nap helped reboot my brain. When I was given it due to irregular periods, I took it for a few days every month, and the day after I **stopped **taking it, I would get my period. That’s right. So it was period, two weeks, a week of Provera and then a period. But that’s the use in young folks.

In an older woman, not getting her period would likely lead a doctor to think she was entering menopause. Thirty years ago, most doctors didn’t run actual hormone level tests routinely; many doctors put just about *every *woman entering menopause on combination (conjugated estrogens/medroxyprogesterone acetate) HRT (Prempro in the US) to relieve menopausal symptoms and because they thought it would reduce cardiovascular disease and weak bones.

Menopause, of course, isn’t a “hormone imbalance” per se. It’s part of the natural cycle of life. But some doctors viewed it almost as a pathology. I recall one doctor told my grandmother that she’d be “a fool to put herself through 30 years of life without hormones.” It was thought that female hormones protected us against the “male” diseases of aging, particularly heart disease, and that if we kept taking them, our health would remain more like younger women.

This changed overnight -literally overnight, July 9, 2002- when they released a report that the combination HRT portion of a huge study showed with startling certainty that combination HRT patients “experienced more strokes, heart attacks, blood clots and an increased risk of invasive breast cancer.”

“‘Minimal brain dysfunction’” is an odd thing to have been instructed to look out for, imho. That’s one of the first names for ADHD.

You said your mom was “old.” Curious…what was her age when you were born?

Glad you made it here safely, BTW. :slight_smile: