Pregnancy complications can have long-term impact on child's health: Study

Pregnancy complications can have long-term impact on child's health: Study
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Los Angeles, US: Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) and gestational diabetes (GDM) are two of the most common pregnancy complications. Both raise the risk of cardiovascular disease in the future for pregnant individuals.

A study suggested that pregnancy-problems">pregnancy problems may result in poor cardiovascular health for the child.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In a secondary analysis of 3,317 maternal-child pairings from the prospective Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome.

Follow-up Study (HAPO FUS), researchers examined whether there was a connection between hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and gestational diabetes and a child's cardiovascular health.

On the maternal side, 8 per cent developed high blood pressure during pregnancy, 12 per cent developed gestational diabetes, and 3 per cent developed both high blood pressure and diabetes.

Researchers then examined the child's cardiovascular health 10 to 14 years after delivery. Cardiovascular health was evaluated based on four metrics: body mass index, blood pressure, total cholesterol, and glucose level. Pediatric guidelines categorized each metric as ideal, intermediate, or poor.

Researchers found that before the age of 12 (median age: 11.6), more than half of the children (55.5 per cent) had at least one metric that was non-ideal, which puts them at greater risk of heart disease and stroke.

"These findings are important because traditionally, the thinking has been that a person's risk of developing cardiovascular disease starts after birth -- that everyone starts at the same point," said the study's lead author Kartik K. Venkatesh, MD, PhD, a maternal-fetal medicine subspecialist and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology and assistant professor of epidemiology, and Director of the Diabetes in Pregnancy Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.

"These data suggest that's not the case and that what happens in the womb can affect the child across their lifespan."