From 1985 to 2013, the mean birth weight of infants in Japan decreased from 3120 g to 3000 g, and the low-birth-weight rate among live births increased from 6.3% to 9.6%. No prospective study has elucidated the risk factors for poor fetal growth and preterm birth in recent Japanese parents, such as increased parental age, maternal body figure, assisted reproductive technology (ART), and socioeconomic status. Participants were mother-infant pairs (n = 18,059) enrolled in a prospective birth cohort in Hokkaido, Japan from 2002 to 2013. Parental characteristics were obtained via self-reported questionnaires during pregnancy. Medical records helped identify very-low-birth-weight (VLBW; <1500g), term-small-for-gestational-age (term-SGA), and preterm-birth (PTB; <37 weeks) infants. We calculated relative risks (RRs) for PTB, VLBW, and term-SGA birth based on parental characteristics. The prevalence of PTB, VLBW, and term-SGA was 4.5%, 0.4%, and 6.5%, respectively. Aged parents and ART were risk factors for PTB and VLBW. Maternal alcohol drinking during pregnancy increased the risk; a parental educational level of =16 years reduced risk of term-SGA. Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI of <18.5 kg/m2 increased the risk of PTB and term-SGA. The RR for low BMI was highest among mothers who have low educational level. Among various factors, appropriate nutritional education to maintain normal BMI is important to prevent PTB and term-SGA in Japan.
Tamura, N., Hanaoka, T., Ito, K., Araki, A., Miyashita, C., Ito, S., … Kishi, R. (2018). Different risk factors for very low birth weight, term-small-for-gestational-age, or preterm Birth in Japan. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020369