Children and young adults born to pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia are at higher risk of increased blood pressure and BMI, according to study results.
Oxford University researchers performed a systematic review of 18 studies published between 1948 and 2011 that provided data on cardiovascular (CV) risk factors in children exposed to preeclampsia in utero. The researchers analyzed the lipid profile, blood pressure, glucose metabolism and BMI of 45,249 people. Those who were not exposed to preeclampsia were used as a control group.
In utero preeclampsia was associated with a 2.39 mm Hg higher systolic blood pressure (95% CI, 1.74-3.05) and a 1.35 mm Hg higher diastolic blood pressure (95% CI, 0.9-1.8) during childhood and young adulthood. Results also showed that BMI in those exposed to preeclampsia increased by 0.62.
“Associations were similar in children and adolescents, for different genders and with variation in birth weight,” the researchers said, adding that they found insufficient evidence to identify consistent variation in lipid profile or glucose metabolism.
A better understanding of the differences in blood pressure may provide insight into why some people are predisposed to hypertension and preeclampsia, according to the researchers.
“From a public health perspective, children born to a pregnancy complicated by preeclampsia appear to have a unique, lifetime cardiovascular risk profile that is present from early life, and so may constitute a population that may benefit from risk profile monitoring and early implementation of primary prevention strategies,” they wrote.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.