Evidence of infant blood pressure programming by maternal nutrition during pregnancy: a prospective randomized controlled intervention study

J Pediatr. 2008 Jan;152(1):79-84, 84.e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.05.048. Epub 2007 Oct 24.


Objectives: To evaluate the impact of maternal nutrition during pregnancy on infant blood pressure.

Study design: Pregnant women (n = 256) were randomized into 3 groups: modified dietary intake according to current recommendations and probiotics (diet/probiotics), placebo (diet/placebo), and a control/placebo group. In the infants born to these women, blood pressure was recorded at age 6 months using an automated oscillometric DINAMAP R.

Results: Despite significant differences in maternal dietary intakes between the study groups, the intervention focusing on maternal fat intake showed no direct impact on infants' blood pressure. Instead, a complex U-shaped interrelationship was uncovered; the highest and lowest quartiles of intakes of specific nutrients, carbohydrate (P = .006 for systolic pressure and P = .015 for diastolic pressure), and monounsaturated fatty acids (P = .029 for diastolic pressure) compared with the middle quartiles resulted in higher blood pressure at age 6 months. The pattern between maternal carbohydrate intake during pregnancy and infants' blood pressure remained significant even after adjustment for breastfeeding and body length. A reverse U-shaped trend again was observed between maternal intake of fruits and infants' systolic blood pressure (P = .077).

Conclusion: With a view toward programming blood pressure to adulthood, our results suggest an opportunity for dietary counseling to promote child health.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Counseling
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimesters
  • Prenatal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats