British Journal of Nutrition

Human and Clinical Nutrition

Association between calcium in cord blood and newborn size in Bangladesh

Mariko Doia1 c1, Rokeya Sultana Rekhaa2, Sultan Ahmeda2, Masafumi Okadaa1, Anjan Kumar Roya2, Shams El Arifeena3, Eva-Charlotte Ekströma4, Rubhana Raqiba2 and Yukiko Wagatsumaa1

a1 Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

a2 Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory, Laboratory Science Division, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), GPO Box 128, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh

a3 Child Health Unit, Public Health Division, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), GPO Box 128, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh

a4 Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health, Uppsala University, Akademiska Sjukhuset, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden


Ca status in the uterus during pregnancy has been suggested to affect fetal growth and size at birth. In Bangladesh, low Ca levels in pregnant women and low birth weight in infants are common. The present study explored the association between Ca levels in cord blood and newborn size at birth (birth weight and birth length) in Bangladesh. Samples and data included 223 women with live-born singleton deliveries in rural Bangladesh. Newborn weight and length were measured at birth. From cord blood obtained at delivery, Ca, 25-hydroxy vitamin D, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase and intact parathyroid hormone levels were determined. An association between size at birth and Ca levels in cord blood was found (birth weight, P = 0·022; birth length, P = 0·001). Associations between Ca and newborn size were further analysed using multivariate regression analyses. After adjusting for several covariates of characteristics in mothers and newborns (gestational weeks at birth, sex of newborn, socio-economic status, maternal height, BMI, age and season at birth), birth length still exhibited a significant relationship with Ca levels in cord blood (birth length, P = 0·030). The present study indicates that Ca status in cord blood might be associated with the birth length of newborns. Ca levels during gestation may affect fetal growth.

(Received October 11 2010)

(Revised February 28 2011)

(Accepted March 07 2011)

(Online publication June 01 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: M. Doi, fax +81 29 853 3489, email


Abbreviations: 25-OH VD, 25-hydroxy vitamin D; BALP, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase; BMC, bone mineral content; ICDDR,B, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh; HDSS, health and demographic surveillance system; iPTH, intact parathyroid hormone; IQR, interquartile range; LBW, low-birth weight; MINIMat, Maternal and Infant Nutrition Interventions in Matlab; SES, socio-economic status