Preconception predictors of birth outcomes: Prospective findings from the central Pennsylvania women's health study

Carol S. Weisman, Dawn P. Misra, Marianne M. Hillemeier, Danielle Symons Downs, Cynthia H. Chuang, Fabian T. Camacho, Anne Marie Dyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Objective To examine maternal pre-pregnancy (preconception) predictors of birthweight and fetal growth for singleton live births occurring over a 2-year period in a prospective study. Methods Data are from a population-based cohort study of 1,420 women who were interviewed at baseline and 2-years later; self-report data and birth records were obtained for incident live births during the followup period. The analytic sample includes 116 singleton births. Baseline preconception maternal health status and health-related behaviors were examined as predictors of birthweight and fetal growth, controlling for prenatal and sociodemographic variables, using multiple regression analysis. Results Preconception BMI (overweight or obese) and vegetable consumption (at least one serving per day) had statistically significant independent and positive effects on birthweight and fetal growth. Maternal weight gain during pregnancy, a prenatal variable, was an additional independent predictor of birthweight and fetal growth. Sociodemographic variables were not significant predictors after controlling for preconception and prenatal maternal characteristics. Conclusions Findings confirm that preconception maternal health status and health-related behaviors can affect birthweight and fetal growth independent of prenatal and socioeconomic variables. Implications for preconception care are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-835
Number of pages7
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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