Maternal and paternal height and BMI and patterns of fetal growth: the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study

Andrew K Wills, Manoj C Chinchwadkar, Charudatta V Joglekar, Asit S Natekar, Chittaranjan S Yajnik, Caroline H D Fall, Arun S Kinare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


We examined the differential associations of each parent's height and BMI with fetal growth, and examined the pattern of the associations through gestation. Data are from 557 term pregnancies in the Pune Maternal Nutrition Study. Size and conditional growth outcomes from 17 to 29 weeks to birth were derived from ultrasound and birth measures of head circumference, abdominal circumference, femur length and placental volume (at 17 weeks only). Parental height was positively associated with fetal head circumference and femur length. The associations with paternal height were detectible earlier in gestation (17-29 weeks) compared to the associations with maternal height. Fetuses of mothers with a higher BMI had a smaller mean head circumference at 17 weeks, but caught up to have larger head circumference at birth. Maternal but not paternal BMI, and paternal but not maternal height, were positively associated with placental volume. The opposing associations of placenta and fetal head growth with maternal BMI at 17 weeks could indicate prioritisation of early placental development, possibly as a strategy to facilitate growth in late gestation. This study has highlighted how the pattern of parental-fetal associations varies over gestation. Further follow-up will determine whether and how these variations in fetal/placental development relate to health in later life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-40
Number of pages6
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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