Influence of maternal asthma and asthma severity on newborn morphometry

Julie S. Moldenhauer, Yinglei Lai, Michael Schatz, Robert Wise, Mark B. Landon, Roger B. Newman, Dwight J. Rouse, Hyagriv N. Simhan, Kenneth J. Leveno, Menachem Miodovnik, Marshall D. Lindheimer, Ronald J. Wapner, Michael W. Varner, Mary Jo O'Sullivan, Deborah L. Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine if maternal asthma or asthma severity affects newborn morphometry. Study Design. A secondary analysis was performed on data collected in a multicenter prospective observational cohort study of asthma in pregnancy. Patients enrolled included women with asthma stratified by severity of disease and controls. Asthma severity was defined according to the classification proposed by the National Asthma Education Program (NAEP) Report of the Working Group on Asthma and Pregnancy, modified to include medication requirements. Newborn morphometry measurements included birth weight (BW) and multiples of the median birth weight (BW-MOM), head circumference (HC), length (L), HC:BW ratio, and ponderal index (PI). Results. Of 2480 patients there were 828 nonasthmatic controls, 828 with mild, 775 with moderate, and 49 with severe disease. Comparing all groups, there were statistically significant differences in maternal age (p < .001), race (p = .005), parity (p = .006), prepregnancy weight (p .028), and medical care source (p = .001), with the severe asthma group having the highest mean maternal age (25.7 years), and proportion of African Americans (71.4%), proportion of multiparous patients (63.3%), and proportion of patients receiving government assistance (85.7%). When the control group was excluded from the comparisons, differences in prepregnancy weight and medical care source were no longer significant. BW-MOM and L did not differ between groups. The HC:BW ratio increased with asthma severity (p = .029) and was increased compared to controls (p =.010). This remained significant after controlling for confounding variables (both p <.001). HC was statistically significantly different between all groups (p = .032), as well as among women with varying degrees of asthma severity (p = .013), which was not clinically significant. After covariates adjustment, HC was not significantly different among all groups (p = .228), nor the asthma groups (p = .144). Conclusion. Asthma severity is associated with an increased HC:BW ratio. Severity was not found to impact HC, BW-MOM, L, or PI independently. However, the magnitudes of the effects were too small to suggest a clinically significant effect of asthma on neonatal morphometry in this large prospectively studied sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-149
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Asthma
  • Neonatal morphometry
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Immunology and Allergy


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