At the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, a new study will be presented that reveals findings suggesting a link between hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) and gestational diabetes (GDM) and their negative effects on a child’s cardiovascular health.
Researchers conducted a secondary analysis of 3,317 maternal-child pairings from the prospective Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Follow-up Study (HAPO FUS), seeking to determine if there was any connection between HDP and GDM and a child’s cardiovascular health.
From the study, it was found that 8 percent of women developed high blood pressure during pregnancy, 12 percent developed gestational diabetes, and three percent developed both high blood pressure and diabetes. The researchers then examined the cardiovascular health of the children 10 to 14 years after delivery.
By collecting data on the children’s body mass index, blood pressure, total cholesterol, and glucose levels, researchers were able to determine their cardiovascular health in childhood. The results showed that 55.5 percent of the children with a median age of 11.6 years had at least one non-ideal metric, increasing their risk of heart disease and stroke later in life.
The study’s lead author, Kartik K. Venkatesh, MD, PhD, noted the importance of these findings as they suggest that what happens in the womb can affect a child across their lifespan. Additionally, maternal-fetal medicine subspecialist and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and assistant professor of epidemiology pointed out how this research highlights the need for continued research on prenatal care to improve outcomes for both mothers and children.