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Evidence suggests that low birth weight and fetal exposure to extreme maternal undernutrition is associated with cardiovascular disease in adulthood. Hyperemesis gravidarum, a clinical entity characterized by severe nausea and excess vomiting leading to a suboptimal maternal nutritional status during early pregnancy, is associated with an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Several studies also showed that different measures related to hyperemesis gravidarum, such as maternal daily vomiting or severe weight loss, are associated with increased risks of adverse fetal pregnancy outcomes. Not much is known about long-term offspring consequences of maternal hyperemesis gravidarum and related measures during pregnancy. We examined the associations of maternal daily vomiting during early pregnancy, as a measure related to hyperemesis gravidarum, with childhood cardiovascular risk factors.
In a population-based prospective cohort study from early pregnancy onwards among 4,769 mothers and their children in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, we measured childhood body mass index, total fat mass percentage, android/gynoid fat mass ratio, preperitoneal fat mass area, blood pressure, lipids, and insulin levels. We used multiple regression analyses to assess the associations of maternal vomiting during early pregnancy with childhood cardiovascular outcomes.
Compared with the children of mothers without daily vomiting during early pregnancy, the children of mothers with daily vomiting during early pregnancy had a higher childhood total body fat mass (difference 0.12 standard deviation score [SDS]; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.03–0.20), android/gynoid fat mass ratio (difference 0.13 SDS; 95% CI 0.04–0.23), and preperitoneal fat mass area (difference 0.10 SDS; 95% CI 0–0.20). These associations were not explained by birth characteristics but partly explained by higher infant growth. Maternal daily vomiting during early pregnancy was not associated with childhood blood pressure, lipids, and insulin levels.
Maternal daily vomiting during early pregnancy is associated with higher childhood total body fat mass and abdominal fat mass levels, but not with other cardiovascular risk factors. Further studies are needed to replicate these findings, to explore the underlying mechanisms and to assess the long-term consequences.
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