Send to

Choose Destination
N Engl J Med. 1998 Dec 17;339(25):1817-22.

First-trimester growth and the risk of low birth weight.

Author information

Department of Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.



Previous studies have demonstrated a correlation between first-trimester size and birth weight. It is not known, however, whether low birth weight is related to first-trimester growth. We sought to determine whether the risk of low birth weight and birth weight that was low for gestational age is related to the size of the embryo or the fetus in the first trimester.


From a data base of ultrasound records of more than 30,000 pregnancies, we identified women who had no important medical problems, a normal menstrual history, and a first-trimester ultrasound scan in which the crown-rump length of the embryo or fetus had been measured. We examined the relation between the outcome of 4229 pregnancies and the difference between the measured and the expected crown-rump length in the first trimester, expressed as equivalent days of growth.


A first-trimester crown-rump length that was two to six days smaller than expected was associated with an increased risk (as compared with a normal or slightly larger than expected crown-rump length) of a birth weight below 2500 g (relative risk, 1.8; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.3 to 2.4), a birth weight below 2500 g at term (relative risk, 2.3; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.4 to 3.8), a birth weight below the fifth percentile for gestational age (relative risk, 3.0; 95 percent confidence interval, 2.0 to 4.4), and delivery between 24 and 32 weeks of gestation (relative risk, 2.1; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.1 to 4.0), but not with delivery between 33 and 36 weeks (relative risk, 1.0; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.7 to 1.5).


Suboptimal first-trimester growth may be associated with low birth weight, low birth-weight percentile, and premature delivery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center