(HealthDay News) – Women who deliver a smaller than expected infant have a nearly two-fold higher risk of ischemic heart disease (IHD).

Radek Bukowski, MD, PhD, from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and colleagues examined the association between the maternal risk of IHD and delivery of a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infant (less than 5lbs 8oz [2,500g]) in 6,608 women with a prior live term birth.

After adjusting for age, the researchers found that the maternal risk of IHD was significantly associated with birth of an SGA infant (odds ratio, 1.8). Adjusting for risk factors, including family history of IHD, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes, had little effect. The onset of IHD was earlier in these women and occurred a median of 30 years later.

“SGA deliveries could allow for early intervention and prevention for heart disease. If this link is proven, doctors could look out for women who deliver smaller than average babies and provide education and preventative care, which would be especially important in resource-poor countries,” Bukowski said in a statement. “It could also be used years after childbirth, as most women remember their babies’ birth weight quite accurately.”

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