A review of the epidemiology of nutrition and adolescent pregnancy: maternal growth during pregnancy and its effect on the fetus.

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Camden 08103.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition (Impact Factor: 1.68). 05/1993; 12(2):101-7. DOI: 10.1080/07315724.1993.10718289
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Maternal growth during adolescent pregnancy and its effects on pregnancy outcome have been a source of controversy. Maternal growth during pregnancy has been difficult to quantify because of the tendency of young and older women to "shrink" in stature with pregnancy. In the Camden Study, maternal growth during pregnancy was monitored with the Knee Height Measuring Device, which measures growth of the lower leg, a body segment less susceptible to "shrinkage." Attempts of other investigators to detect maternal growth during adolescent pregnancy are reviewed here. New data from the Camden Study, also presented, suggest that growing adolescents have infants that weigh less compared to nongrowing adolescents and mature controls (aged 19-29 years). Prior work had suggested that the effects of maternal growth on birth weight were confined to adolescent multiparas. However, with expanded enrollment it was found that infants of growing primiparas and multiparas were both affected. The hypothesis of the competition for nutrients between a still-growing gravida and her fetus is discussed.

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