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Mothers small at birth tend to have small babies

Written by: Staff

NEW YORK, May 5 (Reuters) Mothers who were small as newborns are more likely than other mothers to have small infants themselves, according to Swedish researchers.

In the British Journal of Gynaecology International, Dr Gunilla Sydsjo of University Hospital Linkoping and colleagues note that some evidence suggests that a mother's own early development will influence the development of her offspring.

To investigate further, the researchers examined data from 1973 and 1974 on more than 24,000 mother-daughter pairs.

Mothers who had been born preterm were not more likely to deliver their own children preterm. And preterm birth was not associated with small for gestational age infants.

However, mothers who had been small at birth were 2.7-times more likely to give birth to small babies than were mothers who had not been small.

A number of factors, including smoking and socioeconomic influences, also affected outcome. However, the researchers point out that these factors did not explain the effects seen between generations.

Sydsjo told Reuters Health that it appears that having been preterm does not ''play such a big role for preterm deliveries -- at least not in Sweden.'' However, she added that having been preterm might ''have genetic implications and therefore women born preterm should be observed with extra care when pregnant themselves.'' REUTERS CH ND0932

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