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Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep. 2013 Jun;7(3):217-223.

Pregnancy Complications and the Risk of Metabolic Syndrome for the Offspring.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa, 105 River St, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Metabolic syndrome is a growing problem globally, and is a contributor to non-communicable diseases such as type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The risk of developing specific components of the metabolic syndrome such as obesity, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and elevated fasting blood sugar has been largely attributed to environmental stressors including poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and smoking. However, large epidemiologic cohorts and experimental animal models support the "developmental origins of adult disease" hypothesis, which posits that a significant portion of the risk for adult metabolic conditions is determined by exposures occurring in the perinatal period. Maternal obesity and the rate of complications during pregnancy such as preterm birth, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes continue to rise. As our ability to reduce perinatal morbidity and mortality improves the long-term metabolic consequences remain uncertain, pointing to the need for further research in this area.


Cardiovascular disease; Gestational diabetes; Hyperlipidemia; Hypertension; Maternal obesity; Metabolic syndrome; Preeclampsia; Pregnancy complications; Type II diabetes

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