Fetal size could be correlated with cardiovascular risk factors
Study published in the British Medical Journal A study published in the British Medical Journal claims that growth restriction in the first trimester of pregnancy could be associated with the appearance of cardiovascular risk factors in childhood. The highest rate of human development occurs during the first trimester of pregnancy, when cardiovascular and other organs begin to form. Fetal growth during this period is affected by various factors, including maternal age, smoking habits, ethnicity and blood pressure. Thus, fetal size during the first trimester of pregnancy could be an indicator of various health issues. In this study, a team of Dutch researchers studied 1,184 children who were divided into different groups based on size during the first trimester of pregnancy. At six years of age, the children were tested to assess the presence of cardiovascular risk factors. These tests included calculating body mass index and measuring body fat distribution, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and insulin concentration.

The study found that children belonging to the group with a smaller fetal size had a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular risk factors than the children with a larger fetal size during the same stage of development. Children who were smaller for their gestational age had higher fat, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The researchers report that low weight and size during the initial stage of pregnancy are not the causal factor leading to future cardiovascular problems, but rather these are signs of factors that are detrimental to fetal development during pregnancy. The authors of the study conclude that further studies are needed to better understand the strength and nature of and mechanisms associated with these correlations, as well as the long-term consequences.