Association of microtia with maternal nutrition


  • Supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers of Excellence Award Nos. U50/CCU925286 (California) and U01DD000494-02 (Texas).

  • The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the California Department of Public Health.



Few studies have investigated the potential association of maternal dietary intake and risk of microtia among offspring.


The study included deliveries from 1997 to 2005 from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Nonsyndromic cases of microtia were compared to nonmalformed, population-based, live-born control infants by estimating adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) from logistic regression models that included maternal race or ethnicity, education, folic acid–containing supplement intake, fertility treatment, study site, and total energy intake.


Comparing intake in the lowest 10th percentile versus the 10th to 90th percentiles, lower maternal intakes of carbohydrate (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.07–2.38) and dietary folate (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.09–2.25) were associated with elevated risk of microtia. In addition, results suggested that higher diet quality (as measured by the Diet Quality Index, and comparing the highest with the lowest quartile) was protective, but the CI did not exclude one (OR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.50–1.07). Results were similar among obese and nonobese women.


These data contribute to the limited body of evidence regarding the potential contribution of maternal nutrition to the etiology of microtia. Birth Defects Research (Part A) 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.