High blood pressure during pregnancy poses serious risks to mothers and babies. It may also increase the risk for childhood obesity, a new study reports.

Chinese researchers studied 88,406 mother-child pairs, with complete data on maternal blood pressure during pregnancy and multiple follow-ups between ages 4 and 7 for the children. About 10 percent of the children were overweight or obese.

In the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, each 10-unit increase in systolic (the top number) or diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure was associated with a 5 to 8 percent increase in the risk for childhood obesity, even among women who were not hypertensive. Among all women, whatever their blood pressure before pregnancy, a reading higher than 140/90 in the second trimester was associated with a 49 percent increase in the risk for childhood obesity, and in the third trimester a 14 percent increase.

– Nicholas Bakalar

Read More: High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Tied to Obesity in Children

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