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The relationship between maternal stature, parity, offspring mortality and number of surviving children was investigated in 380 malnourished Guatemalan Indian women. Maternal stature averaged 142 cm, maternal age 28 years, and parity and number of surviving children 4.4 and 3.0 respectively. Shorter women tended to have greater parities but fewer surviving children; these relationships were not statistically significant (p > .05). However, after adjusting for age, and/or parity, the association between maternal stature and number of surviving children became statistically significant (p < .05). Mortality rates were higher for children of shorter mothers and this finding was unchanged by adjustments for maternal age and parity (p < .001). Specifically the infant mortality rate (deaths per 1000 live born) for the children of the shortest third of the mothers was 209, for the middle group the rate was 148 and for the tallest third it was 99. One explanation for the findings is that shorter women compensate for the greater mortality of their children by having more children but not to the extent of having more surviving children.