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Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Oct 1;170(7):829-36. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp211. Epub 2009 Aug 27.

Metabolic syndrome in early pregnancy and risk of preterm birth.

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Department of Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Crete, Greece.


The authors determined the association between metabolic syndrome in early pregnancy (mean, 11.96 weeks) and the risk of preterm birth in the mother-child cohort study ("Rhea" Study) in Crete, Greece, 2007-2009. Maternal fasting serum samples were collected, and blood pressure was measured at the time of the first major ultrasound examination (n = 625). Multivariable log-binomial regression models were used. Women with metabolic syndrome were at high risk for preterm birth (relative risk (RR) = 2.93, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.53, 5.58), with the highest risk observed for medically indicated preterm births (RR = 5.13, 95% CI: 1.97, 13.38). Among the components of metabolic syndrome, the most significant risk factor was hypertension (RR = 2.32, 95% CI: 1.28, 4.20). An elevation of 10 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure increased the relative risk for preterm birth by 29% (RR = 1.29, 95% CI: 1.08, 1.53), while a per unit increase in the low density lipoprotein/high density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio increased this risk by 19% (RR = 1.19, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.39). Fetal weight growth restriction was associated with elevated levels of insulin (RR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.08, 1.20) and diastolic blood pressure (RR = 1.27, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.61) in early pregnancy. These findings suggest that women with metabolic syndrome in early pregnancy had higher risk for preterm birth.

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