“Diethylstilbestrol in the Prevention and Treatment of Complications of Pregnancy” (1948), by Olive Watkins Smith
MetadataShow full item record
In 1948, Olive Watkins Smith published 'Diethylstilbestrol in the Prevention and Treatment of Complications of Pregnancy' in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In 632 women treated with diethylstilbestrol, Smith demonstrated that the drug stimulated the production of progesterone, a hormone that regulates the uterine condition during pregnancy. On the basis of her article, and several follow up articles authored by Smith and her husband, George Van Siclen Smith, physicians around the world began prescribing DES to women at risk for pregnancy complications like miscarriage and premature delivery. However, in 1953, researchers at found that DES did not prevent pregnancy complications. In 1970, researchers linked fetal exposure to DES to rare and severe cancers later in life. Researchers labeled DES as an endocrine disruptor, a substance that disrupts the hormone system of the body across multiple generations.