Objective: To investigate perinatal predictors of newborn blood pressure.
Study design: Among 1059 mothers and their newborn infants participating in Project Viva, a US cohort study of pregnant women and their offspring, we obtained five systolic blood pressure readings on a single occasion in the first few days of life. Using multivariate linear regression models, we examined the extent to which maternal age and other pre- and perinatal factors predicted newborn blood pressure level.
Results: Mean (SD) maternal age was 32.0 (5.2) years, and mean (SD) newborn systolic blood pressure was 72.6 (9.0) mm Hg. A multivariate model showed that for each 5-year increase in maternal age, newborn systolic blood pressure was 0.8 mm Hg higher (95% CI, 0.2, 1.4). In addition to maternal age, independent predictors of newborn blood pressure included maternal third trimester blood pressure (0.9 mm Hg [95% CI, 0.2, 1.6] for each increment in maternal blood pressure); infant age at which we measured blood pressure (2.4 mm Hg [95% CI 1.7, 3.0] for each additional day of life); and birth weight (2.9 mm Hg [95% CI, 1.6, 4.2] per kg).
Conclusions: Higher maternal age, maternal blood pressure, and birth weight were associated with higher newborn systolic blood pressure. Whereas blood pressure later in childhood predicts adult hypertension and its consequences, newborn blood pressure may represent different phenomena, such as pre- and perinatal influences on cardiac structure and function.