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At the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, a new study will be presented that sheds light on the negative effects of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) and gestational diabetes (GDM) on a child’s cardiovascular health.

Researchers at the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome Follow-up Study (HAPO FUS) conducted a secondary analysis of 3,317 maternal-child pairings to determine if there was a connection between HDP and GDM and a child’s cardiovascular health.

The study found that 8 percent of women developed high blood pressure during pregnancy, 12 percent developed gestational diabetes, and three percent developed both high blood pressure and diabetes. Researchers then examined the cardiovascular health of the children 10 to 14 years after delivery by acquiring data on their body mass index, blood pressure, total cholesterol, and glucose levels.

The results showed that 55.5 percent of the children had at least one non-ideal metric, increasing their risk of heart disease and stroke in childhood. The study’s lead author, Kartik K. Venkatesh, MD, PhD, noted the importance of these findings as they suggest that what happens in the womb can affect a child across their lifespan.

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