The objective of the study was to investigate the association between placental weight and birthweight in appropriate (AGA) and small for gestational age (SGA) infants. Placental weight, birthweight and their ratio in chromosomally normal singleton pregnancies with SGA (n=1569) and AGA (n=15 047) infants were compared, and their determinants were studied by logistic regression. SGA infants had 24 per cent smaller placentae than AGA infants when gestational age was used as a covariate. Placental actual weight was also lower in SGA infants than in AGA infants of the same birthweight (P< 0.001). SGA infants had smaller placentae than the controls, suggesting that fetal growth depends on the actual weight of the placenta. Future studies should evaluate whether growth restriction could be reversed by therapeutic approaches increasing placental weight.
Copyright 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.