Objective: We examined the effect of pre-eclampsia on fetal growth in a cohort of pregnant women delivering singleton infants.
Methods: Analyses were restricted to 155 women with pre-eclampsia and 5570 normotensive women. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) after adjusting for confounders. We estimated ORs for very low birth weight (VLBW; < 1500 g), low birth weight (LBW; < 2500 g), and small for gestational age (SGA; weight < or = 10th centile by each gestational age, race, sex and parity strata) in relation to maternal pre-eclampsia status.
Results: After adjusting for maternal age, race, smoking, Medicaid status and gestational age, the OR for VLBW was 30.7 (95% CI 7.0-134.9). Pre-eclampsia was associated with a 3.8-fold increased risk of LBW (95% CI 1.9-7.5). Women with pre-eclampsia were 3.6 times more likely to deliver an SGA newborn as compared with normotensive women (95% CI 2.3-5.7). Advanced maternal age, African-American race, parity or smoking status did not modify the associations of pre-eclampsia with LBW and SGA.
Conclusions: Our results are consistent with other reports that have documented a strong relationship between pre-eclampsia and restricted fetal growth. Further, our results expand the literature by documenting a particularly strong association between pre-eclampsia and VLBW. However, our findings regarding the relationship between pre-eclampsia and fetal growth may be confounded by unmeasured factors including maternal weight prior to pregnancy and pregnancy weight gain.