INTERGROWTH-21 Identifies High Prevalence of Low Symphysis–Fundal Height in Indigenous Pregnant Women Experiencing Multiple Infections, Nutrient Deficiencies, and Inflammation: The Maternal Infections, Nutrient Deficiencies, and Inflammation (MINDI) Cohor

Elsevier, Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 5, Issue 4, 2021, nzab012, ISSN 2475-2991
Doris González-Fernández, Elizabeta Nemeth, Emérita del Carmen Pons, Delfina Rueda, Odalis Teresa Sinisterra, Enrique Murillo, Veena Sangkhae, Lisa M Starr, Marilyn E Scott, Kristine G Koski

In the absence of ultrasound, symphysis–fundal height (SFH) can assess maternal–fetal well-being as it is associated with gestational age, fetal weight, and amniotic fluid volume. However, other modifiers of SFH, including maternal infections, nutrient deficiencies, and inflammation (MINDI), have not been widely explored.
Our objectives were 2-fold: 1) to assess prevalence of low SFH in indigenous Panamanian women using both Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and INTERGROWTH-21 standards and 2) to explore associations of SFH with maternal health indicators: infections (oral, skin, urogenital, nematode infections), nutrient deficiencies [protein and iron indicators (ferritin, serum iron, serum transferrin receptor, hepcidin), folate, and vitamins A, D, and B-12], and inflammation [leukocytes, C-reactive protein (CRP), cytokines].
For this cross-sectional study, low-SFH-for-gestational-age was assessed using PAHO and INTERGROWTH <10th centile in 174 women at ≥16 weeks of gestation. Bootstrapping selected MINDI variables for inclusion in multivariable fractional polynomial (MFP) logistic regressions for low SFH. Associations of MINDI variables with hepcidin were also investigated.
Prevalence of low SFH was 8% using PAHO, but using INTERGROWTH, 50.6% had SFH <10th centile, including 37.9% <3rd centile. Both PAHO-SFH <10th centile and INTERGROWTH-SFH <3rd centile were associated with higher hepcidin (OR = 1.12, P = 0.008, and OR = 3.04, P = 0.001, respectively) and with lower TNF-α (OR = 0.73, P = 0.012, and OR = 0.93, P = 0.015, respectively). Wood-smoke exposure increased the odds of PAHO-SFH <10th centile (OR = 1.19, P = 0.009), whereas higher BMI decreased the odds of INTERGROWTH-SFH <3rd centile (OR = 0.87, P = 0.012). Lower pulse pressure (OR = 0.90, P = 0.009) and lower inflammatory responses [lower lymphocytes (OR = 0.21, P = 0.026), IL-17 (OR = 0.89, P = 0.011)] distinguished SFH <3rd centile from SFH ≥3rd to <10th centiles using INTERGROWTH-21 standards. The MFP regression for hepcidin controlling for SFH (adjusted R2 = 0.40, P = 0.001) revealed associations with indicators of inflammation (CRP, P < 0.0001; IL-17, P = 0.012), acidic urinary pH (P = 0.008), and higher intake of supplements (P = 0.035).
Associations of low SFH with MINDI variables, including hepcidin, highlight its potential for early detection of multicausal in utero growth faltering.