Objectives: We hypothesised that the gross placental measures would be positively associated with childhood growth.
Methods: We analysed data on 23,967 mother-infant pairs enrolled in the Collaborative Perinatal Project. In race-stratified regression models, the main outcomes were birthweight and z-score body-mass index (BMI) at ages 4 and 7.
Results: Some placental measures were significantly associated with z-score BMI at age 7: in Blacks, placental weight (beta = 0.0004/g; 95%CI: 0.0001, 0.0008), chorionic plate area (beta = 0.0007; 95%CI: 0.0001, 0.0012) and largest diameter (beta = 0.013; 95%CI: 0.004, 0.026); and in Whites placental weight (beta = 0.0004/g; 95%CI: 0.0001, 0.0003) and largest diameter (Model 3: beta = 0.020; 95%CI: 0.007, 0.032). Tested as group, placental measures significantly predicted z-score BMI at age 7 (all p values < 0.005).
Conclusions: Placental structure independently predicts birthweight and childhood growth. Strategies to improve placental structure might favourably influence birthweight and childhood development.