Diet in pregnancy and the offspring's blood pressure 40 years later

Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1996 Mar;103(3):273-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.1996.tb09718.x.


Objective: To determine how diet of the mother in pregnancy influences the blood pressure of the offspring in adult life.

Design: A follow up study of men and women born during 1948-1954 whose mothers had taken part in a survey of diet in late pregnancy.

Setting: Aberdeen, Scotland.

Population: Two hundred and fifty-three men and women born in Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.

Main outcome measure: Systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Results: The relations between the diet of mothers and their offsprings' blood pressure were complex. When the mothers' intake of animal protein was less than 50 g daily, a higher carbohydrate intake was associated with a higher blood pressure in the offspring (a 100 g increase in carbohydrate being associated with a 3 mmHg increase in systolic pressure (P = 0.02)). At daily animal protein intakes above 50 g, lower carbohydrate intake was associated with higher blood pressure (a 100 g decrease in carbohydrate being associated with an 11 mmHg rise in systolic blood pressure (P = 0.004)). These increases in blood pressure were associated with decreased placental size.

Conclusion: Mothers' intakes of animal protein and carbohydrate in late pregnancy may influence their offsprings' adult blood pressure. This may be mediated through effects on placental growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organ Size
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Time Factors


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins