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We investigated the effects of maternal age, body weight, body height, weight gain during pregnancy, smoking during pregnancy, previous live births and being a single mother on somatic development at birth. We analysed data from the German Perinatal Survey for the years 1998-2000 from eight German federal states. We had available data on 508,926 singleton pregnancies and neonates in total; for 508,893 of which we could classify the neonates as small, appropriate or large for gestational age (SGA, AGA or LGA) based on the 10th and 90th birth weight percentiles. Multivariable regression analyses found statistically significant effects of a clinically relevant magnitude for smoking during pregnancy [odds ratio (OR) 2.9 for SGA births for women smoking >10 cigarettes per day], maternal height (OR 1.4 for SGA births for women <162 cm; OR 1.4 for LGA births for women >172 cm), maternal weight (OR 1.5 for SGA births for women <59 kg; OR 1.9 for LGA births for women >69 kg), weight gain during pregnancy (OR 1.9 for SGA births for women with a weight gain <8 kg; OR 2.0 for LGA births for women with a weight gain >18 kg) and previous live births (OR 2.1 for LGA births for women with one or more previous live births). Maternal age and being a single mother also had significant effects but their magnitude was small. Our analysis confirms the clinically relevant effects of smoking, maternal anthropometric measures and weight gain during pregnancy on neonatal somatic development.