Papers And Originals

Familial Trends in Low Birth Weight

Br Med J 1974; 3 doi: (Published 14 September 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;3:659
  1. Frank Johnstone,
  2. Lesley Inglis


    The reproductive performance of sisters and sisters-in-law of 185 women who had delivered “light-for-dates” and “premature expulsion” low birth weight infants was studied. Percentile birth weights were compared taking into account length of gestation, fetal sex, and the height, weight, parity, and smoking habits of the mother. Sisters of women who had delivered light-for-dates babies had lighter babies than the general population, their sisters-in-law, or the sisters of women in the premature expulsion group. These other groups, however, had the expected distribution of percentile birth weights. Data on familial trends in smoking habits and unknown gestation are also presented. The results are consistent with the theory that the mother's own intrauterine experience affects her reproductive performance but could also be explained by shared family learning experience of as yet unidentified microsocial factors related to pregnancy performance.