First-trimester growth impacts future heart health

January 30, 2014

Fetal growth during the first trimester can set the stage for cardiovascular health later in life, according to a recent study.

 

Fetal growth during the first trimester can set the stage for cardiovascular health later in life, according to a recent study.

The study results, posted on bmj.com, showed that smaller fetal size during the first trimester was related to higher diastolic blood pressure as well as adverse body fat distribution and blood cholesterol profiles during childhood. In addition, an increased risk of clustering of these cardiovascular risk factors was observed with smaller fetal size during the first trimester, the researchers reported.

“The observed associations are primarily important from an aetiological perspective,” The study’s authors wrote. “Further studies are needed to identify the underlying causal biological mechanisms and long term consequences.”

The study looked at first-trimester crown- rump length in 1,184 children whose mothers had regular menstrual cycles and knew the first day of their last cycle. At median age 6 years, the children were assessed for cardiovascular risk factors including body mass index, total and abdominal fat distribution, blood pressure, and blood concentrations of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, and C peptide. Researchers compared the assessment results for children who were in the highest and lowest groups for fetal first-trimester crown- rump length.

“Future strategies to improve cardiovascular health may start from early pregnancy onwards or even before conception,” the researchers concluded.


 

 

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