Associations between prenatal indicators of mechanical loading and proximal femur shape: findings from a population-based study in ALSPAC offspring

Monika Frysz, Jon H. Tobias, Deborah A Lawlor, Richard M Aspden, Jennifer S Gregory, Alex Ireland* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Hip development is influenced by mechanical loading, but associations between prenatal loading and hip shape in later life remain unexplored.
Methods: We examined associations between prenatal loading indicators (gestation length, oligohydramnios (OH) and breech) obtained from obstetric records and hip shape modes (HSMs) generated using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry images taken at age 14- and 18-years in participants from the UK Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). These associations were examined in 2453 (30 OH, 105 breech) and 2330 (27 OH, 95 breech) participants with complete data at age 14- and 18-years respectively using confounder-adjusted models.
Results: At 14 years HSM2 was 0.59SD lower in OH males, and HSM5 (-0.31SD) and HSM9 (-0.32SD) were lower in OH in both sexes. At 18 years HSM1 (-0.44SD) and HSM2 (-0.71SD) were lower and HSM6 (0.61SD) and HSM8 (1.06SD) were higher in OH males, whilst HSM5 was lower in OH in both sexes. OH appeared to be associated with a wider femoral neck and head, and larger lesser/greater trochanters. Only weak associations were observed between gestation length/breech and HSMs.
Conclusions: These results suggest that prenatal skeletal loading, in particular oligohydramnios, may influence adolescent joint shape with associations generally stronger in males.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of musculoskeletal & neuronal interactions
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Mar 2020



  • growth
  • pregnancy
  • biomechanics
  • joint shape
  • DXA

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