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Fetus Size in First Trimester May Predict Heart Health

Update Date: Jan 23, 2014 06:54 PM EST

Babies who are small in the first trimester of pregnancy are more likely to have poor heart health later in life, according to a new study.

Researchers said the latest findings reveals suggest that the first three months of pregnancy is very important for cardiovascular health.

The latest study involved 1,184 children. Researchers looked at several factors including the mothers' age, ethnicity, education, smoking status, body mass index and blood pressure.

Researchers assessed the children's cardiovascular risk factors like body mass index, body fat distribution, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and insulin concentrations at age six.

Researchers divided the groups of children into five groups using first trimester crown to rump length. Researchers found that children in the lowest fifth group  (the smallest fetuses) had significantly more total fat mass and android fat mass (fat stored around the abdomen), higher diastolic blood pressure and an adverse cholesterol profile at age six.

Researchers also linked first trimester growth restriction to an increased risk of clustering of these cardiovascular risk factors in childhood.

The findings suggest that the first trimester is an important period for cardiovascular and metabolic function.

"Further studies are needed to identify the underlying causal biological mechanisms and long term consequences," researchers wrote in the study.

The findings are published in the British Medical Journal.

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