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BioMed Central Pregnancy and Childbirth


We sought to identify and characterize predictors of poor fetal growth among variables extracted from perinatal medical records to gain insight into potential etiologic mechanisms. In this process we reevaluated a previously observed association between poor fetal growth and maternal psychiatric disease. We evaluated 449 deliveries of >36 weeks gestation that occurred between 9/2008 and 9/2010 at the Women and Infants Hospital in Providence Rhode Island. This study group was oversampled for Small-for-Gestational-Age (SGA) infants and excluded Large-for-Gestational-Age (LGA) infants. We assessed the associations between recorded clinical variables and impaired fetal growth: SGA or Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) diagnosis. After validating the previously observed association between maternal psychiatric disease and impaired fetal growth we addressed weaknesses in the prior studies by explicitly considering antidepressant use and the timing of symptoms with respect to pregnancy. We then evaluated DNA methylation levels at 27 candidate loci in placenta from a subset of these deliveries (n = 197) to examine if epigenetic variation could provide insight into the mechanisms that cause this co-morbidity.