Maternal gestational weight gain and offspring's risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality

Sohinee Bhattacharya, Geraldine McNeill, Edwin Amalraj Raja, Keith Allan, Heather Clark, Rebecca M Reynolds, Jane Norman, Philip C Hannaford

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Objective To examine the effect of maternal gestational weight gain (GWG) on adult offspring mortality, cardiovascular morbidity and cerebrovascular morbidity.

Methods The Aberdeen Children of the Nineteen Fifties (ACONF) is a population-based cohort of adults born in Aberdeen, Scotland between 1950 and 1956. GWG of the mothers of cohort members was extracted from original birth records and linked to the data on offspring morbidity and mortality up to 2011 obtained from Scottish national records. HRs for cardiovascular events and mortality in offspring according to maternal weight gain in pregnancy were estimated adjusting for maternal and offspring confounders using a restricted cubic spline model.

Results After exclusions, 3781 members of the original ACONF cohort were analysed. Of these, 103 (2.7%) had died, 169 (4.5%) had suffered at least one cardiovascular event and 73 (1.9%) had had a hospital admission for cerebrovascular disease. Maternal weight gain of 1 kg/week or more was associated with increased risk of cerebrovascular event in the offspring (adjusted HR 2.70 (95% CI 1.19 to 6.12)). There was no association seen between GWG and offspring's all-cause mortality or cardiovascular event. Adult offspring characteristics (smoking, body mass index (BMI) and diabetes) were strongly associated with each outcome.

Conclusions Maternal GWG above 0.9 kg/week may increase the risk of cerebrovascular disease in the adult offspring, but not all-cause mortality or cardiovascular disease. Health and lifestyle factors such as smoking, BMI and diabetes in the adult offspring had a stronger influence than maternal and birth characteristics on their mortality and morbidity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1456-1463
Number of pages8
Issue number18
Early online date12 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding: This research was supported by Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (R10/A128)

Acknowledgements: The authors wish to thank and acknowledge the scientific input of Dr Nadeem Sarwar who led the funding application to carry out this research; Ms Katie Wilde and the Data Management Team, University of Aberdeen, for data extraction from the Aberdeen databases and Ms Lena Henderson from ISD Scotland for data linkage and extraction from SMR databases.


  • pregnancy
  • heart disease
  • metabolic syndrome
  • cardiac risk factors and prevention
  • obesity


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