Are Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes Inherited?

February 8, 2015

New research from SMFM 2015 shows women whose mothers had preeclampsia or low birth weight are more likely to have the condition in pregnancy.

A study of mothers and daughters found that low birth weight and preeclampsia tended to reoccur in the next generation.

Preeclampsia, which can lead to the life-threatening condition eclampsia, remains an unpredictable condition of pregnancy with no known cause. However, a recent study presented February 6th at The Pregnancy Meeting, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s annual meeting held this year in San Diego provides insight into an association between low birth weight and preeclampsia in mothers and daughters.

The study was based on information from 2314 triads of mothers, daughters, and grandchildren. The daughter group included women who gave birth in a tertiary medical center between 1991 and 2012. Specifically, the study included 1493 mothers, 1619 daughters, and 2314 grandchildren. Low birth weight in mothers, after adjusting for maternal age, placental pathology, preeclampsia, and parity, was a significant predictor of low birth weight in offspring (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1-2.6; P=0.012). Likewise, preeclampsia was a significant intergenerational risk factor after adjustments for maternal age and parity (adjusted OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.5-5.7; P=0.002).

“Pregnant women with maternal family history of low birth weight or preeclampsia should be informed regarding these outcomes and should be monitored more closely,” stated Yehonatan Sherf, MD, one of the study researchers and presenter of the findings.

Careful surveillance among high-risk pregnancies may be helpful in early detection of complications such as preeclampsia as well as neonatal low birth weight.

The study was conducted at Soroka University Medical Center, Beer-Sheva, Israel.

Sherf Y, Sheiner E, Vardi IS, et al. Like mother like daughter-low birthweight and preeclampsia tend to re-ocurre at the next generation. Abstract no 47. Presented at: The Pregnancy Meeting, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s annual meeting; February 6, 2015; San Diego, Calif.