The relationship between maternal body composition in early pregnancy and foetal mid-thigh soft-tissue thickness in the third trimester in a high-risk obstetric population
B. Anglim; N. Farah; C. O’Connor; N. Daly; M. M. Kennelly; M. J. Turner
Year of publication
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Maternal obesity is an emerging challenge in contemporary obstetrics. To date there has been no study analysing the relationship between specific maternal body composition measurements and foetal soft-tissue measurements. The aim of this study was to determine whether measurement of maternal body composition at booking predicts foetal soft-tissue trajectories in the third trimester. We analysed the relationship between foetal thigh in the third trimester and both maternal BMI and body composition using the Tanita digital scales in the first trimester. Foetal subcutaneous thigh tissue measurements were obtained at intervals of 28, 32 and 36 weeks of gestation. A total of 160 women were identified. There was a direct correlation between MTST at 36 weeks and BMI (p =.002). There was a positive correlation between MTST at 36 weeks and leg fat mass (p =.13) and leg fat free mass (p =.013). There was a positive correlation between arm fat free mass and MTST at 36 weeks. We showed there is an association between maternal fat distribution and foetal subcutaneous thigh tissue measurements. MTST may be more useful in determining if a child is at risk of macrosomia.Impact statement Previous studies have suggested that maternal obesity programmes intrauterine foetal adiposity and growth. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship in a high-risk obstetric population between measurements of maternal body composition in early pregnancy and the assessment of foetal adiposity in the third trimester using serial ultrasound measurements of mid-thigh soft-tissue thickness. BMI is only a surrogate measurement of fat and does not measure fat distribution. Our study shows the distribution of both maternal fat and fat-free mass in early pregnancy may be positively associated with foetal soft-tissue measurements in the third trimester. Maternal arthropometric measurements other than BMI may help predict babies at risk of macrosomia and neonatal adiposity.