Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Do parental heights influence pregnancy length?: a population-based prospective study, HUNT 2

Kirsti Myklestad12*, Lars Johan Vatten1, Elisabeth Balstad Magnussen12, Kjell Åsmund Salvesen34 and Pål Richard Romundstad1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim N-7489, Norway

2 Department of Obstetrics, Children`s and Women`s Health, Trondheim University Hospital St. Olav, Olav Kyrres gt.11, Trondheim N-7006, Norway

3 Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children`s and Women`s Health, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim N-7491, Norway

4 Clinical Sciences, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2013, 13:33  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-33

Published: 5 February 2013

Abstract

Background

The objective of this study was to examine the association of maternal and paternal height with pregnancy length, and with the risk of pre- and post-term birth. In addition we aimed to study whether cardiovascular risk factors could explain possible associations.

Methods

Parents who participated in the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT 2; 1995–1997) were linked to offspring data from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway (1997–2005).

The main analyses included 3497 women who had delivered 5010 children, and 2005 men who had fathered 2798 pregnancies. All births took place after parental participation in HUNT 2. Linear regression was used to estimate crude and adjusted differences in pregnancy length according to parental heights. Logistic regression was used to estimate crude and adjusted associations of parental heights with the risk of pre- and post-term births.

Results

We found a gradual increase in pregnancy length by increasing maternal height, and the association was essentially unchanged after adjustment for maternal cardiovascular risk factors, parental age, offspring sex, parity, and socioeconomic measures. When estimated date of delivery was based on ultrasound, the difference between mothers in the lower height quintile (<163 cm cm) and mothers in the upper height quintile (≥ 173 cm) was 4.3 days, and when estimated date of delivery was based on last menstrual period (LMP), the difference was 2.8 days. Shorter women (< 163 cm) had lower risk of post-term births, and when estimated date of delivery was based on ultrasound they also had higher risk of pre-term births. Paternal height was not associated with pregnancy length, or with the risks of pre- and post-term births.

Conclusions

Women with shorter stature had shorter pregnancy length and lower risk of post-term births than taller women, and when EDD was based on ultrasound, they also had higher risk of preterm births. The effect of maternal height was generally stronger when pregnancy length was based on second trimester ultrasound compared to last menstrual period. The association of maternal height with pregnancy length could not be explained by cardiovascular risk factors. Paternal height was neither associated with pregnancy length nor with the risk of pre- and post-term birth.

Keywords:
Cardiovascular risk factors; Maternal height; Paternal height; Pregnancy length; Pre-term birth