Maternal height and length of gestation: Does this impact on preterm labour in Asian women?

Authors

  • Ben Chong-Pun CHAN,

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong
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      Present address: Department of Fetal Medicine, Birmingham Women's Hospital, Birmingham, UK.

  • Terence Tzu-Hsi LAO

    1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Research Centre of Heart, Brain, Hormone and Healthy Ageing, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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: Dr Ben Chong-Pun Chan, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Queen Mary Hospital, 102 Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong. Email: bcpchan@hkucc.hku.hk

Abstract

Background: Both maternal height and ethnicity may influence the gestation length, but their independent effect is unclear.

Aim: This study was performed to examine the relationship between maternal height and gestational length in women with singleton pregnancies in a Chinese and southeast Asian population.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed on women carrying singleton pregnancies with spontaneous labour in a 48-month period managed under our department to determine the relationship between maternal height, expressed in quartiles, with the mean gestational age and incidence of preterm labour.

Results: Of the 16 384 women who delivered within this period, the 25th, 50th and 75th percentile values of maternal height were 153 cm, 156 cm and 160 cm respectively. Excluded from analysis were 6597 women because of multifetal pregnancy, teenage pregnancy (maternal age ≤ 19 years old), induction of labour or elective caesarean section, or incomplete data due to no antenatal booking in our hospital. Significant differences were found in the maternal weight and body mass index, incidences of multiparity and smokers, gestational age and birthweight among the four quartiles. There was significantly increased incidence of preterm birth between 32 and 37 weeks gestation in women with shorter stature.

Conclusions: In our population, maternal height has an influence on gestational length, and the lower three quartiles was associated with increased odds of labour at > 32 to < 37 weeks. This effect should be taken into consideration in the adoption of international recommendations in obstetric management and intervention.

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