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Early-pregnancy origins of low birth weight

Naturevolume 417page916 (2002) | Download Citation



Low birth weight is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality among newborns, and may result from impaired placental function during the first trimester of pregnancy1. Here we show that the risk of delivering a low-birth-weight baby at term after an uncomplicated pregnancy varies with maternal circulating concentrations of a placental protein, pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) in the first 10 weeks after conception. Poor fetal growth may therefore already have been determined by the time obstetric monitoring begins after completion of the first trimester.

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  1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cambridge, The Rosie Hospital, Robinson Way, CB2 2QQ, Cambridge, UK

    • Gordon C. S. Smith
  2. Department of Fetal Medicine, The Queen Mother's Hospital, Glasgow, G3 8SJ, UK

    • Emily J. Stenhouse
    •  & Alan D. Cameron
  3. Institute of Medical Genetics, Yorkhill NHS Trust, Glasgow, G3 8SJ, UK

    • Jennifer A. Crossley
    • , David A. Aitken
    •  & J. Michael Connor


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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to Gordon C. S. Smith.

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