• Low birthweight;
  • pregnancy outcome;
  • small for gestational age;
  • tuberculosis

Please cite this paper as: Lin H-C, Lin H-C, Chen S-F. Increased risk of low birthweight and small for gestational age infants among women with tuberculosis. BJOG 2010;117:585–590.

Objective  As the relationship between tuberculosis (TB) and fetal outcomes remains unclear, this study used a 3-year nationwide population-based data set to determine the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes [low birthweight (LBW), preterm birth and small for gestational age (SGA) infants] among women with TB.

Design  A cross-sectional retrospective study.

Setting  Taiwan.

Sample  Linking the Taiwan birth certificate registry and the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Dataset, we identified 761 women who gave birth from 2001 to 2003 and who had received medication treatment for TB during their pregnancy, together with 3805 unaffected women matched in terms of age and year of delivery.

Methods  Conditional logistic regression analyses were performed to compare the risk of LBW, preterm birth and SGA for mothers with TB and unaffected mothers.

Main outcome measures  The risk of LBW, preterm birth and SGA.

Results  Mothers diagnosed with TB had significantly higher percentages of LBW (8.5 versus 6.4%, = 0.033) and SGA (19.7 versus 16.7%, P = 0.048) infants than unaffected mothers. However, there was no significant difference in preterm birth (8.0 versus 8.0%, = 0.961) between these two groups. The adjusted odds ratios of having LBW and SGA infants for mothers with TB were 1.35 (95% CI = 1.01–1.81) and 1.22 (95% CI = 1.00–1.49), respectively, compared with unaffected mothers.

Conclusions  We concluded that women diagnosed with TB during pregnancy are at increased risk for having LBW and SGA babies, compared with unaffected mothers. We suggest that clinicians should make women with TB aware of the potential risks before planning a child.