Effect of maternal body mass index on cord blood erthropoietin concentrations

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To examine the hypothesis that maternal body mass index (BMI) (an index of maternal adiposity) correlates with cord blood concentrations of erythropoietin (EPO).


Cross-sectional cohort study of consecutively born singleton term healthy infants born to mothers with various BMIs. Excluded were infants with major factors known to be associated with a potential increase in fetal erythropoiesis. Prepregnancy maternal BMI was calculated from maternal recollection.


There was a significant correlation between EPO concentrations and maternal BMI (R = 0.427, P = 0.007). This correlation remained significant in multiple stepwise regression analysis using the EPO concentration as the dependent variable, and maternal age, parity, gestational age and Apgar scores (1 or 5 min) as potential confounders.


Cord blood concentrations of EPO correlate with maternal BMI. We speculate that increasing maternal BMI may represent a relative hypoxic burden on the fetus.

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