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Ann Hum Biol. 2008 Sep-Oct;35(5):462-74. doi: 10.1080/03014460802311062.

Downward percentile crossing as an indicator of an adverse prenatal environment.

Author information

1
Department of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30323, USA. mlampl@emory.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Postnatal health sequelae of low birth weight have been attributed to 'poor fetal growth' from inferred adverse prenatal environments; risks augmented by infant growth rates. Identifying prenatal growth-restricting events is essential to clarify pathways and mechanisms of fetal growth.

AIM:

The specific aim of this investigation was to examine whether an episode of preterm labor may compromise fetal growth.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

Fetal size at the end of the second trimester and birth were compared among women with uncomplicated pregnancies (n = 3167) and those who experienced an episode of preterm labor (<37 weeks) and subsequently delivered at term (> or =37 weeks, n = 147). Fetal weight estimated from ultrasound measures, and changes in weight standard scores across the third trimester investigated significant centile crossing (>0.67 standard deviation score change).

RESULTS:

Fetuses delivered at term after an episode of preterm labor were smaller at birth relative to their peers than at the end of the second trimester, and were 47% more likely to experience clinically significant downward centile crossing (p < 0.05) than their peers (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.04-2.07).

CONCLUSION:

An episode of preterm labor may signal an adverse prenatal environment for term-delivered neonates. Epidemiologically silent events in the natural history of pregnancy are an understudied source of fetal growth compromise as inferred by small birth size among peers.

PMID:
18821324
PMCID:
PMC3163444
DOI:
10.1080/03014460802311062
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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