Folic Acid in pregnancy and risk of hypertension in newborns

Folic Acid: high level during pregnancy helps reducing the risk to develop hypertension in newborns

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A study published on The American Journal of Hypertension observed that adequate maternal folic acid levels can reduce the risk of elevated SBP (systolic blood pressure) in children born to mothers with cardiometabolic risk factors.

“Previous research has shown that maternal cardiometabolic risk factors during pregnancy, including hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, are associated with a higher incidence of hypertension in newborns” says Xiaobin Wang of John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health of Baltimora.
He and his colleagues follow up 1,290 mother–child dyads recruited at birth and followed prospectively up to age 9 years from 2003 to 2014.
Among mothers, 38.2% had one or more cardiometabolic risk factors, 14.6% had hypertensive disorders, 11.1% had diabetes, and 25.1% had pre-pregnancy obesity.
In addition, 28.7% of children born to study participants mothers developed systolic hypertension between 3 and 9 years.
“Hypertensive children were more likely to have obese, hypertensive and diabetic mothers” say the researchers.
According to these results the scientist assessed that high levels of maternal folic acid can help counteract the negative influence of maternal cardiometabolic risk factors in terms of systolic arterial pressure of the newborns, even if maternal folic acid levels alone are not directly linked to pressure variations in infants.
However, among newborns with mothers who present any cardiometabolic risk factors, those whose mothers had above average folic acid levels had shown less than 40% chance of having systolic hypertension during childhood.
“These findings support the hypothesis that early risk assessment before conception and during pregnancy can lead to new ways of preventing hypertension and its consequences throughout life,” Wang concludes.

Am J Hypertens 2017. Doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpx003