Assessing Cardiovascular Disease Risk among Young Women with a History of Delivering a Low-Birth-Weight Infant

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To assess the prevalence and risk factors of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among younger women by pregnancy history.


Cross-sectional study using 1999 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey including women aged 20 to 64 years who had delivered at least one infant (n = 4820). Women self-reported pregnancy history and a clinician diagnosed CVD; CVD risk factors included hypertension (mean systolic blood pressure [BP] ≥140 mm Hg or mean diastolic BP ≥90 mm Hg, or currently treated), high cholesterol (total cholesterol ≥240 mg/dL or currently treated), diabetes (self-report or hemoglobin A1c ≥6.5), and smoking (self-report or cotinine-verified). Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the association between pregnancy history and CVD.


Of the women we studied, 4.6% had CVD; 3.1% had delivered a term low-birth-weight infant (TLBWI). Women with a history of TLBWI had an adjusted odds ratio (AOR) of 2.07 (95% confidence intervals [CI] 1.08 to 3.99) for CVD compared with women without a history of LBWI. Adjustment for hypertension and high cholesterol mildly attenuated the association (AOR 1.85, 95% CI 0.89 to 3.83). Among women without CVD (n = 4555), 23.1% with a history of TLBWI had two risk factors compared with 14.0% of those without a history of LBWI (p = 0.0016).


Women with a history of TLBWI should be informed of a possible increased risk of CVD and encouraged to receive screenings as recommended.

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