2017 Volume 241 Issue 2 Pages 117-123
In Japan, the percentage of leanness has been increasing in young women, and the percentage of low birth weight infants (< 2,500 g) has increased. Moreover, the average age of primiparas rose 3.5 years during the last 30 years. The purpose of this study was to clarify the relationship between maternal age and the influence of maternal pre-pregnancy physique on the neonatal physique of infants. Questionnaires were issued to the participants and collected when they submitted their gestational notifications at their local ward office in Kyoto Prefecture. After delivery, we obtained information on the course of the pregnancy and the neonatal physique of the infants from the participant’s maternal passbooks. A total of 454 mothers (age 20 ≥) were analyzed: 161 young mothers (aged 20 to 29 years), 185 mothers (aged 30 to 34 years), and 108 older mothers (age ≥ 35). Overall, the mean rate of leanness (pre-pregnancy BMI < 18.5) was 23.8%. We found that birth weight was significantly lower in female infants, born to lean young mothers, compared to non-lean young mothers, whereas no significant difference was detected in other mothers (age ≥ 30), irrespective of pre-pregnancy BMI. By contrast, male infants, born to older lean mothers (age ≥ 35), showed significantly lower birth weight. Thus, maternal pre-pregnancy BMI exerts differential effects on the fetal growth (neonatal physique), depending on the maternal age and the sex of infants. We need to improve BMI in pre-pregnancy women, especially those in the twenties and 35 years old or over.