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.