Objective: To describe the magnitude of change in the proportion of term and postterm (37 completed weeks or more) large for gestational age (LGA) infants between 1992-2001 in Sweden and to examine whether time trends in prevalence of LGA births can be explained by changes in maternal risk factors.
Methods: Using the population-based Swedish Birth Register, we analyzed data from 1992 through 2001 on births of women who delivered live, singleton, term infants without malformations (N = 874,163). Unconditional logistic regression was used to model the odds of LGA birth.
Results: Mean birth weight and proportions of LGA births and births 4,500 g or more rose during the period 1992 to 2001. An unadjusted analysis estimated that the risk of LGA birth increased by 23% over 10 years. However, the prevalence of overweight and obesity (body mass index of 25 or greater) increased from 25% to 36%, and the prevalence of smoking decreased from 23% to 11% during the same period. After adjusting trends in all covariates simultaneously, the association between risk of LGA birth and calendar year disappeared.
Conclusion: The increasing proportions of LGA births over time is explained by concurrent increases in maternal body mass index and decreases in maternal smoking. With the increasing prevalence of overweight among adolescents and young women, the prevalence of LGA infants and associated risks may increase over time.
Level of evidence: II-2