Background Human growth is a continuous process. Studies defining placental effect on growth focus on discrete time points (e.g., birth), overlooking the conditional nature of the process.
Material and Methods Two hundred mothers who gave birth at term after an uncomplicated singleton pregnancy were studied using conditional analysis. Placental weight, infant length (BL), weight (BW), and head circumference (HC) were obtained at birth and during childhood period (4.5 +/-2 years) of age. Placental weight was correlated with growth parameters of the child at birth and during childhood.
Results At birth, placental weight was correlated significantly with maternal weight (r=0.21, p=0.031), infant BW (r=0.71, r < 0.001), BMISDS(r=0.589, p<0.001), LSDS (0.567, p<0.001), and HC (r=0.699, p<0.001). During childhood, placental weight was correlated with BMI SDS (r=0.296, p=0.002), HtSDS = (r=0.254, p=0.009). Length SDS at birth was correlated significantly with HtSDS during childhood (r=0.445, p<0.001).
Conclusion Placental weight is a good pointer of birth size (weight, length and HC) and may help forecast childhood growth.