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Prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol and the mother-daughter relationship

Authors
Journal
European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
0301-2115
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
65
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0301-2115(95)02341-0
Keywords
  • Gynecology And Oncology
Disciplines
  • Medicine
  • Psychology

Abstract

Abstract The psychological consequences resulting from the exposure to diethylstillboestol (DES), a non-steroidal oestrogen, on the mother-daughter relationship are studied using semi-directive interviews with 43 daughters and 7 mothers treated with DES during their pregnancies. These women referred to gynacological consultation for DES-related problems. The daughters, exposed to DES during their foetal life, learned about DES after a pregnancy mishap (35% of the cases), or by accident (65% of the cases). All of them were shocked when the existence of DES and its side effects were revaled to them. Consequences on the mother-daughter relationship were absent in 60% of the cases, favourable in 20%, and negative in 20%. Five percent of the women showed hostility towards the medical practice, but 65% were not suspicious of the drugs administered to them during their pregnancies. For 64% of them, administration of DES to their mother had been kept secret. In 7 out of 50 cases, parents alone came for medical assistance in order to manage the secret. Exposure to DES may reveal pre-existing difficulties not only between the mother and the daughter, but sometimes beyond from generation to generation.

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