Mom's Pre-pregnancy Weight Impacts Risk of Dying Decades Later

Adults whose mothers were overweight prior to pregnancy have a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2014.

More than 50% of pregnant women in the US are reported to be overweight or obese.

Adults whose mothers were overweight prior to pregnancy have a higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2014.

The study, led by Michael Mendelson, MD, SM, research fellow at the Framingham Heart Study, Boston University and the Boston’s Children Hospital, analyzed data from to 2012 on a total of 879 participants — 52% female with a median age of 32 at the start of the study’s inception – specially with information about the pre-pregnancy weight status of their mothers.

Results suggested nearly 10% of the mothers had, in fact, been overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher, in other words, approximately 145 pounds or higher for a woman 5-foot-4.

Mendelson noted during the 41-year-span, there were 193 incidences of cardiovascular events including coronary heart diseases, stroke, heart failure, 28 cardiovascular deaths, and 138 total offspring deaths.

“Excess weight among young women of childbearing age has important implications not only for their own health, but for that of their children as well,” added Mendelson.

Research found, compared with adults whose mothers did not exhibit pre-pregnancy obesity, children of the obese mothers had a 90% higher risk of cardiovascular disease, or even death.

The study results concluded, “Maternal obesity prior to pregnancy is associated with offspring cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality. The association is likely mediated in part through classical CVD risk factors such as offspring obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and dyslipidemia.

Larger studies in other populations are needed to further verify these findings; however, these results contribute to evidence associating maternal health to their children’s cardiovascular health.