Everything Pregnancy

Crazy: Being Short Can Affect Your Pregnancy!

According to a study published yesterday in the journal PLoS Medicine, an expecting mom's height may impact her risk for delivering a premature baby.

Height measuring device Shutterstock
It seems logical that a petite mother might give birth to a smaller baby. That's genetics, right?

Well, yes. But a new study suggests a connection between short moms-to-be and small babies that goes beyond that simple explanation.

According to a study published yesterday in the journal PLoS Medicine, an expecting mom's height may impact her risk for delivering a premature baby.

The report analyzed 3,500 Nordic women and their babies and found that shorter moms had shorter pregnancies, with a higher risk of preterm birth as well as smaller babies.

"We found when we ran our analysis that mom's height was a risk factor for having a preterm birth, so we decided to investigate this further," study author Dr. Louis Muglia, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, told Fit Pregnancy.

The doctor explained that the reasons for this were indeed genetic in ways we might all expect. But they were surprising, too.

"Whatever influences maternal height, such as mom's genes but also her nutrition and other health habits, influence how long she will carry her pregnancy," Muglia says. "We think this relationship may exist either because mother's height influences uterine size or pelvic size, or height is related to mom's metabolism and how much energy she can supply to a growing baby prior to birth."

In short, apart from straightforward genetics, nutrition and environmental factors influence the height of the mom, and consequently how long she can incubate a baby.

But height-challenged mamas should know that the study did not find a cause-and-effect relationship between short stature and premature birth. It only found an association between the two.

Alesandra Dubin is a mom to one-year-old boy-girl twins. She's also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of lifestyle blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on FacebookInstagramGoogle+ and Twitter.

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