Effect of the interval between pregnancies on perinatal outcomes.
BACKGROUND: A short interval between pregnancies has been associated with adverse perinatal outcomes. Whether that association is due to confounding by other risk factors, such as maternal age, socioeconomic status, and reproductive history, is unknown. METHODS: We evaluated the interpregnancy interval in relation to low birth weight, preterm birth, and small size for gestational age by analyzing data from the birth certificates of 173,205 singleton infants born alive to multiparous mothers in Utah from 1989 to 1996. RESULTS: Infants conceived 18 to 23 months after a previous live birth had the lowest risks of adverse perinatal outcomes; shorter and longer interpregnancy intervals were associated with higher risks. These associations persisted when the data were stratified according to and controlled for 16 biologic, sociodemographic, and behavioral risk factors. As compared with infants conceived 18 to 23 months after a live birth, infants conceived less than 6 months after a live birth had odds ratios of 1.4 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.3 to 1.6) for low birth weight, 1.4 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.3 to 1.5) for preterm birth, and 1.3 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.2 to 1.4) for small size for gestational age; infants conceived 120 months or more after a live birth had odds ratios of 2.0 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.7 to 2.4);1.5 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.3 to 1.7), and 1.8 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.6 to 2.0) for these three adverse outcomes, respectively, when we controlled for all 16 risk factors with logistic regression. CONCLUSIONS: The optimal interpregnancy interval for preventing adverse perinatal outcomes is 18 to 23 months. (+info
Maternal smoking and Down syndrome: the confounding effect of maternal age.
Inconsistent results have been reported from studies evaluating the association of maternal smoking with birth of a Down syndrome child. Control of known risk factors, particularly maternal age, has also varied across studies. By using a population-based case-control design (775 Down syndrome cases and 7,750 normal controls) and Washington State birth record data for 1984-1994, the authors examined this hypothesized association and found a crude odds ratio of 0.80 (95% confidence interval 0.65-0.98). Controlling for broad categories of maternal age (<35 years, > or =35 years), as described in prior studies, resulted in a negative association (odds ratio = 0.87, 95% confidence interval 0.71-1.07). However, controlling for exact year of maternal age in conjunction with race and parity resulted in no association (odds ratio = 1.00, 95% confidence interval 0.82-1.24). In this study, the prevalence of Down syndrome births increased with increasing maternal age, whereas among controls the reported prevalence of smoking during pregnancy decreased with increasing maternal age. There is a substantial potential for residual confounding by maternal age in studies of maternal smoking and Down syndrome. After adequately controlling for maternal age in this study, the authors found no clear relation between maternal smoking and the risk of Down syndrome. (+info
Energy intake, not energy output, is a determinant of body size in infants.
BACKGROUND: It has been proposed that the primary determinants of body weight at 1 y of age are genetic background, as represented by parental obesity, and low total energy expenditure. OBJECTIVE: The objective was to determine the relative contributions of genetic background and energy intake and expenditure as determinants of body weight at 1 y of age. DESIGN: Forty infants of obese and 38 infants of lean mothers, half boys and half girls, were assessed at 3 mo of age for 10 risk factors for obesity: sex, risk group (obese or nonobese mothers), maternal and paternal body mass index, body weight, feeding mode (breast, bottle, or both), 3-d energy intake, nutritive sucking behavior during a test meal, total energy expenditure, sleeping energy expenditure, and interactions among them. RESULTS: The only difference between risk groups at baseline was that the high-risk group sucked more vigorously during the test meal. Four measures accounted for 62% of the variability in weight at 12 mo: 3-mo weight (41%, P = 0.0001), nutritive sucking behavior (9%, P = 0.0002), 3-d food intake (8%, P = 0.0002), and male sex (3%, P = 0.05). Food intake and sucking behavior at 3 mo accounted for similar amounts of variability in weight-for-length, body fat, fat-free mass, and skinfold thickness at 12 mo. Contrary to expectations, neither total nor sleeping energy expenditure at 3 mo nor maternal obesity contributed to measures of body size at 12 mo. CONCLUSIONS: Energy intake contributes significantly to measures of body weight and composition at 1 y of age; parental obesity and energy expenditure do not. (+info
Breast cancer risk in monozygotic and dizygotic female twins: a 20-year population-based cohort study in Finland from 1976 to 1995.
This population-based study investigated the occurrence of breast cancer over a 20-year period in a cohort of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins in Finland. Altogether, 13,176 female twins of known zygosity who were living in Finland at the end of 1975 were identified from the Finnish Twin Cohort Study and followed-up for cancer through the Finnish Cancer Registry for the years 1976-1995. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated, based on national cancer incidence rates. The relative risk of breast cancer for MZ twins compared to DZ twins was decreased [SIR(MZ)/SIR(DZ) ratio = 0.78; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.58-1.0]; the decreased risk for MZ twins (SIR = 0.76; 95% CI, 0.58-1.0) accounted for this result, whereas the risk for DZ twins did not differ from the general population risk (SIR = 0.98; 95% CI, 0.84-1.1). There was no risk decrease among MZ twins in other cancers related to reproductive behavior; i.e., number of children and age at first birth seem not to explain the decreased risk of breast cancer. Our results, which are in line with earlier studies on the same topic, suggest that prenatal influences or postnatal behavioral factors may protect MZ female twins from breast cancer. (+info
A family study of coarctation of the aorta.
Families of 100 patients with coarctation of the aorta and 50 controls for age, sex, and social status were studied to assess the influence of genetic and environmental variables in the aetiology. A tendency to familial aggregation of the condition and other congenital heart defects compatible with multifactorial inheritance was discerned. Recurrence risk for sibs is approximately 1 in 200 for coarctation of the aorta, and 1% for any form of congenital heart defect. The heritability of coarctation is estimated at 58%. The tendency for other non-cardiac defects to occur in the patients with coarctation does not appear in their sibs and is not so pronounced as in some other congenital heart conditions. Of the several environmental variables examined, there was no definitive association with any other than season of birth, which implies a possible association with maternal infection; there is also a suggestion of a paternal age effect, but these require investigation in a prospective survey. (+info
Fertility patterns after appendicectomy: historical cohort study.
OBJECTIVE: To examine fertility patterns in women who had their appendix removed in childhood. DESIGN: Historical cohort study with computerised data and fertility data for this cohort and for an age matched cohort of women from the Swedish general population. The cohorts were followed to 1994. SETTING: General population. PARTICIPANTS: 9840 women who were under 15 years when they underwent appendicectomy between 1964 and 1983; 47 590 control women. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Diagnoses at discharge. Distributions of age at birth of first child among women with perforated and non-perforated appendix and women who underwent appendicectomy but were found to have a normal appendix compared with control women by using survival analysis methods. Parity distributions at the latest update of the registry were also examined. RESULTS: Women with a history of perforated appendix had a similar rate of first birth as the control women (adjusted hazard ratio 0.95; 95% confidence interval 0.88 to 1. 04) and had a similar distribution of parity at the end of follow up. Women who had had a normal appendix removed had an increased rate of first births (1.48; 1.42 to 1.54) and on average had their first child at an earlier age and reached a higher parity than control women. CONCLUSION: A history of perforated appendix in childhood does not seem to have long term negative consequences on female fertility. This may have important implications for the management of young women with suspected appendicitis as the liberal attitude to surgical explorations with a subsequently high rate of removal of a normal appendix is often justified by a perceived increased risk of infertility after perforation. Women whose appendix was found to be normal at appendicectomy in childhood seem to belong to a subgroup with a higher fertility than the general population. (+info
Maternal age- and gestation-specific risk for trisomy 21.
OBJECTIVE: To provide estimates of maternal age- and gestational age-related risks for trisomy 21. METHODS: The prevalence of trisomy 21 was examined in 57,614 women who had fetal karyotyping at 9-16 weeks of gestation for the sole indication of maternal age of 35 years or more. On the basis of the maternal age distribution and the reported maternal age-related risk for trisomy 21 at birth, the expected number of trisomy 21 cases was calculated for each gestational age subgroup (9-10 weeks, 11-14 weeks and 15-16 weeks). The ratio of the observed to expected number of cases of trisomy 21 was then calculated and regression analysis was applied to derive a smoothened curve. The formula for maternal age- and gestational age-related risk was then applied to a population of 96,127 pregnancies that were examined at 10-14 weeks to calculate the expected number of trisomy 21 pregnancies, and this number was compared to the observed number of 326. RESULTS: In the 57,614 pregnancies there were 538 cases of trisomy 21. The relative prevalences of trisomy 21, compared to a prevalence of 1.0 at 40 weeks, was 10 exp(0.2718 x log(10)(gestation)2 - 1.023 x log10(gestation) + 0.9425). On the basis of the estimated maternal age- and gestational age-related risks, the expected number of trisomy 21 cases at 10-14 weeks of gestation in the 96,127 pregnancies was 329 (95% confidence interval 291-361), which was not significantly different from the observed number of 326 cases (chi2 = 0.02). CONCLUSION: The risk for trisomy 21 increases with maternal age and decreases with gestation. The prevalence of trisomy 21 at 12 and 16 weeks of gestation is higher than the prevalence at 40 weeks by 30% and 21%, respectively. (+info
Is maternal age a risk factor for mental retardation among children?
The purpose of this study was to determine whether older or very young maternal age at delivery is associated with mental retardation in children. Ten-year-old children with mental retardation (an intelligence quotient of 70 or less) were identified in 1985-1987 from multiple sources in the metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, area. These children were subdivided into two case groups according to whether they had concomitant developmental disabilities or birth defects affecting the central nervous system (codevelopmental retardation) or did not have such disabilities (isolated retardation). Control children were randomly chosen from the regular education files of the public school systems in the study area. Data on sociodemographic variables were gathered from birth certificates. Children of teenaged mothers were not at increased risk for either form of retardation and children of mothers aged > or =30 years were not at increased risk for isolated retardation, in comparison with children of mothers aged 20-29 years. A markedly elevated risk of codevelopmental retardation was seen among black children of mothers aged > or =30 years that was not attributable to Down syndrome. A modest increase in risk for codevelopmental retardation was observed among white children born to older mothers, but it was entirely due to Down syndrome. (+info