Women who gave birth to their first child as teenagers had an increased risk for CVD, whereas women who have never given birth had the lowest risk, published data show.
“Women’s reproductive health is increasingly recognized as an important contributing factor to CVD risk,” Nicole T. A. Rosendaal, MS, of the office of public health studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and colleagues wrote. “Previous studies document association of greater lifetime parity, early age at menarche and early age at menopause with CVD; however, findings are not always consistent. Age at first childbirth is much less studied.”
Rosendaal and colleagues used data from the International Mobility in Aging Study on 1,047 women aged 65 to 74 years from Canada, Albania, Colombia and Brazil. The researchers determined a Framingham risk score and age at first childbirth for study participants to analyze the effect early pregnancy and number of births had on later CVD risk.
Women were categorized as: nulliparous; younger than 20 years at first childbirth with one to three births or at least four births; and aged at least 20 years at first childbirth with one to three births or at least four births.
Women who gave birth to their first child as a teenager were more likely to have childhood economic and social adversity and more likely to give birth to at least four children in their lifetime.
Women who were younger than 20 years when they gave birth to their first child had a higher mean Framingham risk score compared with all other groups. Compared with women aged 25 to 29 years at first childbirth, women who were younger than 20 years at first childbirth had a 5.8-point higher mean Framingham risk score (95% CI, 3.4-8.3).
Women who had never given birth had the lower risk for CVD of all the groups.
Number of births did not have a significant effect on CVD risk.
“Identification of this higher-risk group could prove useful for clinicians because women who were adolescent mothers may benefit from earlier and increased cardiovascular screening to reduce the incidence of CVD events,” the researchers wrote. “The clear dissociation of [age at first birth] and elevated parity in the association with CVD suggest that nulliparity and [age at first birth], rather than increasing parity, drive the association with CVD risk. This finding provides a possible explanation for the conflicting results that have been reported in the literature to date on parity and CVD.” − by Cassie Homer
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.