The influence of genes and environments for gestational problems and outcomes

In this project we want to study genetic-familial effects of pregnancy complications and the health of the newborn child.

Project description

Complications in connection with pregnancy and delivery can create large suffering for afflicted individuals, and contribute to a large part of the costs for the health care system for women in fertile ages. However, the etiology of many gestational outcomes is still unknown.

The Swedish Multi-Generation Register (including information on all children born in Sweden since 1932 together with their parents) will be linked to the Swedish Medical Birth Register. From the birth register information on gestational outcomes from 1973 will be collected (about 2.5 million deliveries). Analyses will be done on a de-identified dataset with genetic epidemiological methodology. We will also develop new methodological methods to analyze this complex dataset.

The purpose is to for gestational complications and outcomes study

  • if there is a familial risk
  • the relative importance of genes and environments
  • if there is a common genetic and/or environmental etiology for different types of complications
  • the importance of the father for the outcome
  • how social factors contribute
  • identify families that can be used for molecular genetic studies.

For both prevention and treatment it is of uttermost importance to better understand how genes and environments influence gestational complications and outcomes.

Main financing: FAS

Project leader


Paul Lichtenstein

Phone: 08-524 874 24
Organizational unit: Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (MEB), C8


Professor, senior

Sven Cnattingius



Yudi Pawitan

Phone: 08-524 839 83
Organizational unit: Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (MEB), C8


Marie Reilly

Phone: 08-524 839 82
Organizational unit: Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (MEB), C8


Estimation of genetic and environmental factors for binary traits using family data.
Pawitan Y, Reilly M, Nilsson E, Cnattingius S, Lichtenstein P
Stat Med 2004 Feb;23(3):449-65
The importance of genetic and environmental effects for pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension: a family study.
Nilsson E, Salonen Ros H, Cnattingius S, Lichtenstein P
BJOG 2004 Mar;111(3):200-6
Genetic influence on dystocia.
Algovik M, Nilsson E, Cnattingius S, Lichtenstein P, Nordenskjöld A, Westgren M
Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2004 Sep;83(9):832-7
Maternal and fetal genetic factors account for most of familial aggregation of preeclampsia: a population-based Swedish cohort study.
Cnattingius S, Reilly M, Pawitan Y, Lichtenstein P
Am. J. Med. Genet. A 2004 Nov;130A(4):365-71

Familial aggregation of small-for-gestational-age births: the importance of fetal genetic effects.
Svensson A, Pawitan Y, Cnattingius S, Reilly M, Lichtenstein P
Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol. 2006 Feb;194(2):475-9

Twin research