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Maternal predisposition to vascular and metabolic disease may underlie both vascular-related pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction, as well as future maternal cardiovascular disease. We aimed to substantiate this hypothesis with biochemical and anthropometric evidence by conducting an intergenerational case-control study in a Dutch isolated population including 106 women after preeclampsia or intrauterine growth restriction (median follow-up: 7.1 years) and their fathers (n=43) and mothers (n=64), as well as 106 control subjects after uncomplicated pregnancies with their fathers (n=51) and mothers (n=68). Cardiovascular risk profiles were assessed, including fasting glucose, lipids, anthropometrics, blood pressure, intima-media thickness, and metabolic syndrome. We found significantly higher fasting glucose levels, larger waist circumferences, and a 5-fold increased prevalence of hypertension in women with a history of preeclampsia as compared with control subjects (P<0.001). Likewise, their parents had higher glucose levels than control parents (P<0.05). Their mothers had larger waist circumferences and higher blood pressures (P<0.05). Also, women after pregnancies complicated by intrauterine growth restriction had higher glucose levels and increased prevalence of hypertension (P<0.01). Their fathers showed higher glucose levels as well (P<0.05). Mean carotid intima-media thickness was increased in a subset of women after preeclampsia diagnosed with chronic hypertension as compared with those without hypertension (P<0.01). Metabolic syndrome was more prevalent both in women with a history of preeclampsia and their mothers (P<0.05). We demonstrated intergenerational similarities in cardiovascular risk profiles between women after preeclampsia or intrauterine growth restriction and their parents. These findings suggest shared constitutional risks for vascular-related pregnancy complications and future cardiovascular disease.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1034 - 1041


Adult, Blood Glucose, Blood Pressure, Female, Fetal Growth Retardation, Humans, Hypertension, Hypertension, Pregnancy-Induced, Male, Metabolic Syndrome, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Cardiovascular, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects, Prevalence, Risk Factors, Waist-Hip Ratio