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High BP linked to poor growth in womb

Infants whose growth is restricted in the womb show slower maturation of certain basic body functions.

High BP linked to poor growth in womb

Infants whose growth is restricted in the womb show slower maturation of certain basic body functions. Researchers from the University of Leicester in the UK, studied 192 infants and found that those diagnosed with intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) had higher night time heart rates and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than healthy infants, by the age of 21 weeks. In IUGR infants, heart rate and cortisol patterns appeared to be slower to mature toward adult-like rhythms.The researchers speculate that these early differences in physiological development could help explain why some studies have found high blood pressure and heart disease to be more common among adults who were growth retarded as infants. IUGR is diagnosed when a newborn is significantly small for gestational age, the time-point in pregnancy when the baby is born. So a premature newborn, while typically small, is not necessarily considered growth restricted.
Fetal growth restriction can result from a number of factors - such as poor maternal nutrition, certain medical conditions or infections in the mother, and defects related to the placenta or umbilical cord that hinder the supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. A number of studies have suggested that factors in the womb may have long-term health effects. There's evidence, linking low birth weight to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease decades later. Hence, it's suggested that adults who were growth-restricted as infants have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease and should be monitored by their doctor for these.

Archives of Disease in Childhood,
February 2004
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