Consanguinity, prematurity, birth weight and pregnancy loss: a prospective cohort study at four primary health center areas of Karnataka, India

J Perinatol. 2012 Jun;32(6):431-7. doi: 10.1038/jp.2011.115. Epub 2011 Aug 18.


Objective: To determine whether consanguinity adversely influences pregnancy outcome in South India, where consanguinity is a common means of family property retention.

Study design: Data were collected from a prospective cohort of 647 consenting women, consecutively registered for antenatal care between 14 and 18 weeks gestation, in Belgaum district, Karnataka in 2005. Three-generation pedigree charts were drawn for consanguineous participants. χ (2)-Test and Student's t-test were used to assess categorical and continuous data, respectively, using SPSS version 14. Multivariate logistic regression adjusted for confounding variables.

Result: Overall, 24.1% of 601 women with singleton births and outcome data were consanguineous. Demographic characteristics between study groups were similar. Non-consanguineous couples had fewer stillbirths (2.6 vs 6.9% P=0.017; adjusted P=0.050), miscarriages (1.8 vs 4.1%, P=0.097; adjusted P=0.052) and lower incidence of birth weight <2500 g (21.8 vs 29.5%, P=0.071, adjusted P=0.044). Gestation <37 weeks was 6.2% in both the groups. Adjusted for consanguinity and other potential confounders, age <20 years was protective of stillbirth (P=0.01), pregnancy loss (P=0.023) and preterm birth (P=0.013), whereas smoking (P=0.015) and poverty (P=0.003) were associated with higher rates of low birth weight.

Conclusion: Consanguinity significantly increases pregnancy loss and birth weight <2500 g.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology*
  • Consanguinity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • India / epidemiology
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Premature Birth / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stillbirth / epidemiology*