Annals of epidemiology

Preterm birth and long-term maternal cardiovascular health.

PMID 25459086


To investigate whether preterm birth (PTB) is associated with greater cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in a longitudinal cohort. We examined differences in systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure, insulin resistance (Homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance), total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein, triglycerides, C-reactive protein, and interleukin 6 at 3 years postpartum between women who delivered preterm (gestation <37 weeks; n = 54) versus term (≥37 weeks; n = 751) using multivariable linear regression. We also assessed relations with body mass index, weight change from prepregnancy, and waist circumference at 3 and 7 years postpartum. Median age at enrollment was 33.9 years (range: 16.4-44.9). After adjusting for age, race, prepregnancy body mass index, parity, marital status, education, and SBP during early pregnancy, women with PTB had 3.99 mm Hg (95% confidence interval, 0.82-7.16) higher SBP and 7.01 mg/dL (1.54-12.50) lower HDL than those who delivered at term. The association with SBP was attenuated after accounting for hypertension before or during pregnancy (2.78 mm Hg [-0.30 to 5.87]). PTB was not related to other postpartum outcomes. PTB is related to greater CVD risk by 3 years postpartum as indicated by higher SBP and lower HDL. Although these associations may be due to preexisting conditions exacerbated during pregnancy, PTB may flag high-risk women for more vigilant CVD monitoring and lifestyle interventions.