Thame, Minerva M.; Osmond, C.; Wilks, Rainford J.; Bennett, Franklyn I.; McFarlane-Anderson, Norma ; Forrester, Terrence E.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Tropical Medicine Research Institute
Blood pressure is related to placental volume and birth weight
Date of Publication
The objective of this study was to determine whether maternal nutrition and fetal and placental size program blood pressure. A longitudinal study linking the maternal anthropometric measurements of the first antenatal visit, ultrasound data of placental and fetal size, anthropometry at birth, and childhood growth and blood pressure was performed. The subjects were 428 women who attended the antenatal clinic at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica, and their children, who were subsequently followed up. Systolic blood pressure at ages 1, 2, 2.5, 3, and 3.5 years was the main outcome measure. Pooling the data across ages, systolic blood pressure fell by 1.4 mm Hg for every 1-kg increase in birth weight (95% CI 0.2 to 2.7, P=0.02) and by 1.2 mm Hg for every 100-mL increase in placental volume at 20 weeks of gestation (95% CI 0.4 to 2.0, P=0.004). Blood pressure was also negatively associated with placental volume at 17 weeks and fetal abdominal circumference at 20 weeks. Measures of maternal nutritional status were strongly related to birth weight and placental volume but not directly to childhood blood pressure at these young ages. In conclusion, blood pressure is associated with fetal size in this population, as previously described among Europeans. We found associations between placental volume and abdominal circumference in the second trimester and childhood blood pressure, suggesting that the initiating events of blood pressure programming occur early in pregnancy. Measures of maternal nutritional status were not directly related to childhood blood pressure at these young ages but were strong predictors of both birth weight and placental volume, suggesting an indirect relation.....