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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Associations of maternal birth weight, childhood height, BMI, and change in height and BMI from childhood to pregnancy with risks of preterm delivery

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BACKGROUND: It remains unknown whether maternal early life body size and changes in height and BMI from childhood to pregnancy are associated with risks of having a preterm delivery.

OBJECTIVES: We investigated whether a woman's birth weight, childhood height, BMI, and changes in height and BMI from childhood to pregnancy were associated with preterm delivery.

METHODS: We studied 47,947 nulliparous women born from 1940 to 1996 who were included in the Copenhagen School Health Records Register with information on birth weight and childhood heights and weights at ages 7 and/or 13 years. Gestational age was obtained from the Danish Birth Register, as was prepregnancy BMI, for 13,114 women. Deliveries were classified as very (22 to <32 weeks) or moderately (32 to <37 weeks) preterm. Risk ratios (RRs) and 95% CIs were estimated using binomial regression.

RESULTS: A woman's birth weight and childhood height were inversely associated with having very and moderately preterm delivery. Childhood BMI had a U-shaped association with having a very preterm delivery; at age 7 years, compared to a BMI z score of 0, the RRs were 1.31 (95% CI, 1.11-1.54) for a z score of -1 and 1.18 (95% CI, 1.01-1.38) for a z score of +1. Short stature in childhood and adulthood was associated with higher risks of very and moderately preterm delivery. Changing from a BMI at the 85th percentile at 7 years (US CDC reference) to a prepregnancy BMI of 22.5 kg/m2 was associated with RRs of 1.12 (95% CI, 0.91-1.37) and 0.88 (95% CI, 0.78-0.99) for very and moderately preterm delivery, respectively, compared to a reference woman at the 50th percentile at 7 years (22.5 kg/m2 prepregnancy BMI).

CONCLUSIONS: Maternal birth weight, childhood height, and BMI are associated with very and moderately preterm delivery, although in different patterns. Consistent short stature is associated with very and moderately preterm delivery, whereas normalizing BMI from childhood to pregnancy may reduce risks of having a very preterm delivery.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe American journal of clinical nutrition
Volume115
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1217-1226
Number of pages10
ISSN0002-9165
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition.

    Research areas

  • Adult, Birth Weight, Body Height, Body Mass Index, Child, Female, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Pregnancy, Premature Birth/epidemiology, Risk Factors

ID: 70536001