(HealthDay News) — First trimester fetal growth restriction correlates with an adverse cardiovascular risk profile in childhood, according to a study published online January 23 in BMJ.

Vincent W.V. Jaddoe, MD, PhD, from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a population-based prospective cohort study involving 1,184 children with first trimester fetal crown to rump length measurements. The authors sought to examine whether first trimester fetal growth restriction correlates with cardiovascular outcomes in childhood.

The researchers found that an increase in the first trimester crown to rump length of one standard deviation correlated with lower total fat mass, android fat mass, android/gynoid fat mass ratio, diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and risk of cardiovascular risk factor clustering in childhood (relative risk, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.66–1.00). These effect estimates were only altered slightly with adjustment for gestational age and weight at birth. The associations between first trimester fetal crown to rump length and childhood total fat mass were completely explained by childhood body mass index. There was no association for first trimester fetal growth and other cardiovascular outcomes. School-age children with clustering of cardiovascular risk factors versus those without such clustering had a smaller first trimester fetal crown to rump length and lower second and third trimester estimated weight, but from the age of 6 months onward, they had higher weight growth.

“These results suggest that the first trimester of pregnancy may be a critical period for development of cardiovascular risk factors in later life,” the authors write.

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