Maternal and Paternal Height and the Risk of Preeclampsia

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Abstract

The etiology of preeclampsia is unknown. Tall women have been found to have lower incidence of preeclampsia. This points to a possible biological causal effect but may be because of socioeconomic confounding. We used paternal height as an unexposed control to examine confounding. The MoBa (Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study) was used to extract data on parental heights, maternal prepregnancy weight, other background factors, and pregnancy outcomes for 99 968 singleton births. Multiple logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios for preeclampsia according to parental height. The adjusted odds ratio for preeclampsia was 0.74 (95% CI, 0.66–0.82) for women >172 cm as compared with women <164 cm. The adjusted odds ratio for preeclampsia for men >186 cm was 1.03 (95% CI, 0.93–1.15) compared with men <178 cm. The association between maternal height and preeclampsia is unlikely to be because of confounding by familial, socioeconomic factors or by fetal genes related to height. The observed association between maternal height and preeclampsia merits further investigation.

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