Influence of breastfeeding and postnatal nutrition on cardiovascular remodeling induced by fetal growth restriction

Pediatr Res. 2016 Jan;79(1-1):100-6. doi: 10.1038/pr.2015.182. Epub 2015 Sep 15.


Background: Our aim was to determine the influence of breastfeeding and postnatal nutrition on cardiovascular remodeling induced by fetal growth restriction (FGR).

Methods: A cohort study including 81 children with birthweight <10th centile (FGR) and 121 with adequate fetal growth for gestational age (AGA) was conducted. Cardiovascular endpoints were left ventricular sphericity index (LVSI), carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), and blood pressure (BP) at 4-5 y of age. The combined effect of FGR and postnatal variables-including breastfeeding, fat dietary intake, and BMI-on cardiovascular endpoints was assessed by linear and robust regressions.

Results: FGR was the strongest predictor of cardiovascular remodeling in childhood, leading to lower LVSI and increased cIMT and BP as compared with AGA. Breastfeeding >6 mo (coefficient: 0.0982) and healthy-fat dietary intake (coefficient: -0.0128) showed an independent beneficial effect on LVSI and cIMT, respectively. Overweight/obesity induced an additional increment of 1 SD on cIMT in FGR children (interaction coefficient: 0.0307) when compared with its effect in AGA. BMI increased systolic BP (coefficient: 0.7830) while weight catch-up increased diastolic BP (coefficient: 4.8929).

Conclusions: Postnatal nutrition ameliorates cardiovascular remodeling induced by FGR. Breastfeeding and healthy-fat dietary intake improved while increased BMI worsened cardiovascular endpoints, which opens opportunities for targeted postnatal interventions from early life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Infant Food*
  • Infant Nutrition Disorders
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Pediatric Obesity / physiopathology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Ventricular Remodeling / drug effects
  • Ventricular Remodeling / physiology*


  • Dietary Fats