Maternal Parity, Fetal and Childhood Growth, and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors
We examined the associations of maternal parity with fetal and childhood growth characteristics and childhood cardiometabolic risk factors in a population-based prospective cohort study among 9031 mothers and their children. Fetal and childhood growth were repeatedly measured. We measured childhood anthropometrics, body fat distribution, left ventricular mass, blood pressure, blood lipids, and insulin levels at the age of 6 years. Compared with nulliparous mothers, multiparous mothers had children with higher third trimester fetal head circumference, length and weight growth, and lower risks of preterm birth and small-size-for-gestational-age at birth but a higher risk of large-size-for-gestational-age at birth (P<0.05). Children from multiparous mothers had lower rates of accelerated infant growth and lower levels of childhood body mass index, total fat mass percentage, and total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol than children of nulliparous mothers (P<0.05). They also had a lower risk of childhood overweight (odds ratio, 0.75 [95% confidence interval, 0.63–0.88]). The risk of childhood clustering of cardiometabolic risk factors was not statistically significantly different (odds ratio, 0.82; 95% confidence interval, 0.64–1.05). Among children from multiparous mothers only, we observed consistent trends toward a lower risk of childhood overweight and lower cholesterol levels with increasing parity (P<0.05). In conclusion, offspring from nulliparous mothers have lower fetal but higher infant growth rates and higher risks of childhood overweight and adverse metabolic profile. Maternal nulliparity may have persistent cardiometabolic consequences for the offspring.
- Received March 6, 2014.
- Revision received March 27, 2014.
- Accepted April 27, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.