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Shorter women have shorter pregnancies

In addition, smaller babies and increased risk of preterm delivery.

WHITE PLAINS, New York, -- New research has found that a mother's height directly influences her risk for preterm birth.

Investigators at the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center Ohio Collaborative looked at 3,485 Nordic women and their babies, and found that maternal height, which is determined by genetic factors, helped shape the fetal environment, influencing the length of pregnancy and frequency of prematurity. In contrast, birth length and birth weight are mainly influenced by transmitted genes.

"Our finding shows that a mother's height has a direct impact on how long her pregnancy lasts," said Louis Muglia, MD, PhD, the primary investigator of the Ohio Collaborative, and co-director of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "The explanation for why this happens is unclear but could depend not only on unknown genes but also on woman's lifetime of nutrition and her environment."

The research paper, "Assessing the Causal Relationship of Maternal Height on Birth Size and Gestational Age at Birth: A Mendelian Randomization Analysis," was published online Aug. 18 by PLoS Medicine. (SOURCE: March of Dimes)

Photo: Fotolia

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