Placental characteristics and birthweight

Authors

  • Carolyn M. Salafia,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons,
    2. EarlyPath Clinical and Research Diagnostics, Larchmont, NY,
      Carolyn M. Salafia, MD MS, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.
      E-mail: salafiacm@aol.com
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jun Zhang,

    1. Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA, and
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Adrian K. Charles,

    1. Department of Pathology, Princess Margaret Hospital, Perth, Western Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Michaeline Bresnahan,

    1. Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons,
    2. New York State Psychiatric Institute,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Patrick Shrout,

    1. Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY,
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Wenyu Sun,

    1. Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA, and
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Elizabeth M. Maas

    1. EarlyPath Clinical and Research Diagnostics, Larchmont, NY,
    Search for more papers by this author

Carolyn M. Salafia, MD MS, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.
E-mail: salafiacm@aol.com

Summary

Standard gross placental measures capture dimensions relevant to specific placental functions. Our objective was to determine their accountability independent of placental weight for variance in birthweight, an important proxy for intrauterine ‘adequacy’ in fetal origins studies. The sample consisted of 24 152 singleton liveborn children of the Collaborative Perinatal Project delivered from 34 to 42 completed weeks gestation, with complete data for six placental measures (placental disc shape, umbilical cord length, distance from cord insertion to nearest margin, large diameter, small diameter, placental thickness) and placental weight. Associations between birthweight and placental measures were examined using multiple linear regression. Placental weight alone accounted for 36.6% of birthweight variation; the six other placental measures accounted for 28.1%. Combined, all placental measures accounted for 39.1% of birthweight variation. Seven maternal characteristics (age, height, weight, parity, socio-economic status, cigarette use, and race) were investigated to determine whether their known associations with birthweight were mediated by placental markers. Analysis suggested that the impact of all maternal characteristics except smoking was consistent with mediation by placental characteristics.

Ancillary