Research Activities February 2013, No. 390
Giving birth to a small gestational age infant increases likelihood of later maternal ischemic heart disease
The likelihood of developing ischemic heart disease (IHD) is nearly twice as high (9.6 percent vs. 5.7 percent) in women who deliver an infant small for gestational age (SGA), according to a new study. The strong association of delivery of a SGA infant with an increased maternal risk of IHD was independent of the family history of IHD, diabetes, stroke, or hypertension as well as other risk factors for IHD.
The researchers studied 6,608 women, of whom 453 women had IHD. There were 309 women who had delivered a SGA infant, corresponding to the national SGA rate of 4.1 percent among women with a prior term live birth. Delivery of a SGA infant preceded the presentation of IHD by a median of 30 years. The results suggest that a pregnancy that produces a SGA infant induces long-term cardiovascular changes that augment risk for clinical IHD. But the mechanism linking delivery of an SGA infant and the greater risk of IHD is uncertain.
See "Delivery of a small for gestational age infant and greater maternal risk of ischemic heart disease" by Radek Bukowski, M.D., Karen E. Davis, M.A., and Peter W. F. Wilson, M.D., in the March 2012 PLoS ONE 7(3), p. e33047. Reprints (AHRQ Publication No. 12-R081) are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.