Association between birth weight and first-trimester free β-human chorionic gonadotropin and pregnancy-associated plasma protein A

Silvana Canini, Federico Prefumo, Daniela Pastorino, Lucia Crocetti, Calogero Gallo Afflitto, Pier Luigi Venturini, Pierangela De Biasio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Study Objective: To assess the relationship between first-trimester maternal serum PAPP-A and free β-hCG and birth weight. Design: Observational study. Setting: Teaching hospital. Patient(s): Singleton pregnancies (n = 1,630) at 10-14 weeks of gestation. Intervention(s): Fluorimetric immunoassays for maternal serum pregnancy-associated plasma protein A (PAPP-A) and free β-hCG. Main Outcome Measure(s): Customized birth weight percentiles, calculated taking into account maternal height, weight, ethnic origin, parity, smoking status, and fetal gender. Result(s): There was a significant positive correlation between birth weight and PAPP-A, but not free β-hCG levels. Maternal serum levels of PAPP-A were significantly lower in small-for-gestation (SGA) newborns than in control subjects and were significantly higher in large-for-gestation (LGA) newborns than in control subjects. Maternal serum free β-hCG levels were lower in pregnancies complicated by pre-eclampsia than in normotensive ones. Multivariable analysis found PAPP-A to be an independent predictor of absolute birth weight, SGA, and LGA. Free β-hCG was found to be an independent predictor of gestational hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Neither of the two markers was associated with preterm delivery. Conclusion(s): Maternal serum PAPP-A levels in the late first trimester of pregnancy are associated with subsequent fetal growth (including both physiologic variation and abnormal growth), and decreased free β-hCG is more predictive of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-178
Number of pages5
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008



  • fetal growth
  • First trimester
  • free β-hCG
  • gestational hypertension
  • LGA
  • PAPP-A
  • pre-eclampsia
  • preterm delivery
  • SGA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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