Women With Low Birth Weight at Higher Risk for Hypertension During Pregnancy

Women With Low Birth Weight at Higher Risk for Hypertension During Pregnancy

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Highlights:
  • Women who were born underweight have an increased risk of hypertension during pregnancy.
  • Women who weighed less than 2kg at birth have a 1.62 greater chance of suffering hypertension problems in pregnancy.
  • Women who suffered from low birth weight are also more prone to develop life-threatening conditions such as pre-eclampsia.
New study shows that women who were born prematurely or with a low birth weight , are at increased risk for developing hypertension during pregnancy. The study also suggests that the condition may also be passed on to the next generation.
Women With Low Birth Weight at Higher Risk for Hypertension During Pregnancy

Low birth weight

The average birth weight for a normal newborn baby is 2500g to 4200g. However, some newborns are born weighing much less than the average. Low birth weight is defined by the World Health Organization as a birth weight lower than 2499g. A birth weight is associated with fetal mortality, slow or inhibited growth and cognitive development, and may also result in chronic diseases later in life.

Hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common condition in which there is tension in the arteries that carry blood from the heart. This can lead to several health conditions including heart disease and stroke.

Hypertension is one of the main problems faced by women during pregnancy. Globally, 1 in 10 pregnancies encounter hypertension issues such as pre-eclampsia.

Study overview

To study the association between hypertensive disorder of pregnancy and birth weight, a Japanese research team led by Dr. Takumi Kurabayashi carried out an analysis on 17,278 nurses enrolled on the Japan Nurses' Health Study (JNHS). The team was able to show that women who were born with low birth weight at higher risk for hypertension during pregnancy.

Study findings 

  • Women who had a low birth weight when they were born are more at risk of hypertension in pregnancy.
  • Women who weighed less than 2kg at their own birth had a 1.62 greater chance of suffering hypertension problems in pregnancy than women who had normal range birth weight.
  • Women who suffered from low birth weight were also more prone to develop potentially life-threatening conditions such as pre-eclampsia.
  • Women who were premature babies, defined as a gestational age of less than 37 weeks at birth, had a 1.26 greater chance of suffering hypertension problems when pregnant.
"We believe that clinicians should ask pregnant women about their own birth weight, and they should make sure that their diet and body weight are managed during pregnancy. In addition, at-risk women probably need to undergo regular check-up after delivery, even into old age", said Dr Kurabayashi.
Reference:
  1. High blood pressure (hypertension) (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373410)


Source-Medindia

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