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Mothers height linked to length of pregnancy and baby size

A new study of nearly 3,500 women and infants in Europe has found that shorter mums are genetically more likely to give birth to smaller and lighter babies.


The research found that every centimetre of a mother’s height increases her baby’s length by 0.05 centimetres, weight by 10 grams and gestational age by 0.34 days. So the taller the mum, the longer the pregnancy.

Dr Joe Leigh Simpson, senior vice president for research at the US March of Dimes Foundation that led the study, describes the results as a “major finding”.

Leading investigator Dr Louis Muglia, co-director of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre, added: "Our findings show that a mother's height has a direct impact on how long her pregnancy lasts. The explanation for why this happens is unclear but could depend not only on unknown genes but also on a woman's lifetime of nutrition and her environment."

The study findings are reported in the online journal Public Library of Science Medicine.

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Mothers height linked to length of pregnancy and baby size