Birth weight and polycystic ovary syndrome in adult life: a register-based study on 523,757 Danish women born 1973–1991

In a Danish national register study on 523,757 women, an association between birth weight 4,500 g and an increased risk of PCOS in adult life was found in offspring of nondiabetic women.


Hanne Mumm, M.D., Mads Kamper-Jørgensen, M.Sc., Ph.D., Anne-Marie Nybo Andersen, M.D., Ph.D., Dorte Glintborg, M.D., Ph.D., Marianne Andersen, M.D., Ph.D.

Volume 99, Issue 3, Pages 777-782, 1 March 2013



To study the association between birth weight and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in adult life in Danish women born 1973-1991.


Register study.


Data was extracted from the Danish Medical Birth Register (DMBR) and the Danish National Patient Register (NPR).


All female children born of Danish mothers in Denmark during 1973-1991 were included (n = 523,757) and followed for a total of 4,739,547 person-years at risk.




Information on birth weight was extracted from the DMBR. The cohort was followed up in the NPR for PCOS diagnoses from age 15 years until the end of 2006. Furthermore, information on maternal diabetes diagnoses was extracted from the NPR.


The risk of PCOS was significantly increased in women with birth weight ≥ 4,500 grams (Incidence Rate Ratio = 1.57 (95% CI 1.21-2.03)) compared to women with birth weight 3,000- 3,499 grams. All women with birth weight ≥ 4,500 grams were born large for gestational age (LGA) and a birth weight of 4,500 grams represented the 98.5th percentile of the birth weights. Women born of mothers diagnosed with diabetes were at increased risk of PCOS. In these women the risk of PCOS increased with decreasing birth weight.


The risk of PCOS was increased in women born with birth weight ≥ 4,500 grams. In women of diabetic mothers we found an increased risk of PCOS, which was inversely related to birth weight.

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