Influence of pre-eclampsia on fetal growth

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2003 Mar;13(3):157-62. doi: 10.1080/jmf.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Birth Weight
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / epidemiology*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / etiology*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / genetics
  • Fetal Macrosomia / epidemiology
  • Fetal Macrosomia / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Maternal Age
  • Medical Records
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parity
  • Pre-Eclampsia / epidemiology*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / etiology*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy, High-Risk
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking
  • Sweden / epidemiology