Associations of pregnancy complications with calculated cardiovascular disease risk and cardiovascular risk factors in middle age: the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

Research paper by Abigail A Fraser, Scott M SM Nelson, Corrie C Macdonald-Wallis, Lynne L Cherry, Elaine E Butler, Naveed N Sattar, Debbie A DA Lawlor

Indexed on: 22 Feb '12Published on: 22 Feb '12Published in: Circulation


The nature and contribution of different pregnancy-related complications to future cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its risk factors and the mechanisms underlying these associations remain unclear.We studied associations of pregnancy diabetes mellitus, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, preterm delivery, and size for gestational age with calculated 10-year CVD risk (based on the Framingham score) and a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors measured 18 years after pregnancy (mean age at outcome assessment, 48 years) in a prospective cohort of 3416 women. Gestational diabetes mellitus was positively associated with fasting glucose and insulin, even after adjustment for potential confounders, whereas hypertensive disorders of pregnancy were associated with body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, lipids, and insulin. Large for gestational age was associated with greater waist circumference and glucose concentrations, whereas small for gestational age and preterm delivery were associated with higher blood pressure. The association with the calculated 10-year CVD risk based on the Framingham prediction score was odds ratio 1.31 (95 confidence interval, 1.11-1.53) for preeclampsia and 1.26 (95 confidence interval, 0.95-1.68) for gestational diabetes mellitus compared with women without preeclampsia and without gestational diabetes mellitus, respectively.Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy and pregnancy diabetes mellitus are independently associated with an increased calculated 10-year CVD risk. Preeclampsia may be the better predictor of future CVD because it was associated with a wider range of cardiovascular risk factors. Our results suggest that pregnancy may be an important opportunity for early identification of women at increased risk of CVD later in life.