Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Is birth weight determined genetically?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 295 doi: (Published 19 September 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;295:687
  1. R Carr-Hill,
  2. D M Campbell,
  3. M H Hall,
  4. A Meredith
  1. Institute of Medical Sociology, Aberdeen University.


    Birthweight correlations were analysed among 505 intergenerational pairs of first births to women aged 18-25 identified from a large obstetric data bank. After standardisation for fetal sex, maternal height, gestational age, and proteinuric pre-eclampsia residual correlations of between 0.1402 and 0.1725 were found, suggesting only a small genetic effect. It is concluded that genetic factors play only a small part in determining birth weight.