Contents This study was designed to establish the factors, if any, which could affect plasma pregnancy-associated glycoprotein-1 (PAG-1) expression in a study population of 87 pregnant, high-producing dairy cows. The factors examined were: semen providing breed (Holstein-Friesian vs Limousin), outcome of gestation (male vs female newborn, and singleton vs twin pregnancies), lactation number, milk production at pregnancy diagnosis, plasma progesterone concentration, season of gestation (warm period, March-November vs cool period, December-February), and day of gestation (40, 90, 120, 150, 180 and 210). Pregnancy was diagnosed by transrectal ultrasound on day 40 post-insemination and by palpation per rectum on days 90, 120, 150, 180 and 210. Blood samples were collected from each animal immediately before each pregnancy diagnosis. The relative contributions of the different factors on PAG-1 concentrations were evaluated by GLM repeated measures analysis of variance. No significant effects of the herd, foetal sex, milk production, lactation number and plasma progesterone concentrations were observed. In contrast, twin pregnancy, the use of Limousin semen and conception during the cool period were correlated with significantly increased plasma PAG-1 concentrations throughout gestation. Our data indicate that both cow well-being during early placental development, determined in our conditions by reduced heat stress when conception occurred in the cool season, and crossbreed pregnancies lead to improved PAG-1 production throughout the gestation period. © 2008 Blackwell Verlag.