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Impact of World War 1 on placenta weight, birth weight and other anthropometric parameters of neonatal health


Butie, Claire; Matthes, Katarina L; Hösli, Irene; Floris, Joël; Staub, Kaspar (2020). Impact of World War 1 on placenta weight, birth weight and other anthropometric parameters of neonatal health. Placenta, 100:150-158.

Abstract

Background

Wars do not only affect combatant countries, populations in neutral zones can be afflicted by circumjacent conflicts as well, posing a great health burden on mothers and newborns. As neonatal health remains an ongoing cause for concern, identifying determinants that impede fetal growth is crucial. Under this pretext, the study aimed to analyze the impact of World War 1 in the neutral city of Basel on neonatal health by assessing changes in anthropometric parameters.
Methods

A retrospective analysis of yearly cross sections of term births in the maternity hospital of Basel from 1912 to 1923 was conducted (n = 3718). We tested adjusted anthropometry for time trends in comparison to a pre-war baseline, including birth weight, placenta weight, birth length, ponderal index and gestational age. Interrelations of placenta weights and birth weights were examined separately through birth weight to placenta weight (bw/pw) ratios and residuals of placenta weight to birth weight regressions.
Results

Birth weights, placenta weights and residuals were at their lowest in 1918/19, a trend not reflected in bw/pw ratios. Birth lengths remained low while ponderal indexes declined during the entire period of war, gestational age remained rather stable.
Discussion

1918/19 were the pinnacle years for the population of Basel, who were suffering from general detrimental economic conditions, a food supply crisis and an outbreak of the Spanish Flu. These adverse circumstances coincided with low birth and placenta weights, residuals depicting the correlation of birth weights to placental weights more closely than bw/pw ratios.

Abstract

Background

Wars do not only affect combatant countries, populations in neutral zones can be afflicted by circumjacent conflicts as well, posing a great health burden on mothers and newborns. As neonatal health remains an ongoing cause for concern, identifying determinants that impede fetal growth is crucial. Under this pretext, the study aimed to analyze the impact of World War 1 in the neutral city of Basel on neonatal health by assessing changes in anthropometric parameters.
Methods

A retrospective analysis of yearly cross sections of term births in the maternity hospital of Basel from 1912 to 1923 was conducted (n = 3718). We tested adjusted anthropometry for time trends in comparison to a pre-war baseline, including birth weight, placenta weight, birth length, ponderal index and gestational age. Interrelations of placenta weights and birth weights were examined separately through birth weight to placenta weight (bw/pw) ratios and residuals of placenta weight to birth weight regressions.
Results

Birth weights, placenta weights and residuals were at their lowest in 1918/19, a trend not reflected in bw/pw ratios. Birth lengths remained low while ponderal indexes declined during the entire period of war, gestational age remained rather stable.
Discussion

1918/19 were the pinnacle years for the population of Basel, who were suffering from general detrimental economic conditions, a food supply crisis and an outbreak of the Spanish Flu. These adverse circumstances coincided with low birth and placenta weights, residuals depicting the correlation of birth weights to placental weights more closely than bw/pw ratios.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Developmental Biology, Reproductive Medicine
Language:English
Date:1 October 2020
Deposited On:10 Jul 2020 09:00
Last Modified:25 Sep 2020 01:26
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0143-4004
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.placenta.2020.07.003

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