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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Feb;182(2):443-8.

Low midpregnancy placental volume in rural Indian women: A cause for low birth weight?

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King Edward Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, Rasta Peth, Pune, Maharashtra, India.



We sought to study midpregnancy placental volume in rural Indian women, its maternal determinants, and its relationship to neonatal size.


We performed a prospective community-based study of maternal nutrition and fetal growth in 6 villages near the city of Pune. Measurements included midpregnancy placental volume determined by means of ultrasonography at 15 to 18 weeks' gestation, maternal anthropometric measurements before and during pregnancy, and maternal blood pressure and biochemical parameters during pregnancy. Neonatal size and placental weight were measured at birth.


The mothers were short and underweight (mean height, 1.52 m; weight, 42 kg; body mass index, 18 kg/m(2)) and produced small babies (mean birth weight, 2648 g). Midpregnancy placental volume (median, 144 mL) was related to the mother's prepregnancy weight (r = 0.15; P <.001) but not to weight gain during pregnancy, blood pressure, or circulating hemoglobin, ferritin, red blood cell folate, or glucose concentrations. Midpregnancy placental volume was related to placental weight at birth (r = 0.29; P <.001) and birth weight (r = 0.25; P <.001) independent of maternal size.


In Indian mothers midpregnancy placental volume is significantly associated with prepregnant maternal weight and is an independent predictor of birth weight. Our findings may provide clues to the high prevalence of low-birth-weight infants in India.

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