Does exposure to pre-eclampsia in utero contribute to cardiovascular disease risk and ageing in early childhood?
Project Description: Preeclampsia is a high blood pressure disease that affects 3-5% of all pregnancies. The aim of this study is to describe how preeclampsia in the mother affects novel aspects of cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) health in her child at 2- and 5-years of age. In particular, effects on blood vessel structure and function and the child’s epigenetics and telomeres (part of the genetic material that can be altered by events in early life) will be compared between children whose mothers had preeclampsia and those with no blood pressure problems in pregnancy. This will advance understanding of how preeclampsia influences the child’s lifelong health and inform risk-reducing interventions. The investigators named on this project include clinicians and researchers based at St George Hospital that are developing interventions for women who experience preeclampsia during pregnancy. Hence findings from this research will be used in clinical practice and inform research trials for women who have high blood pressure during pregnancy, with the overarching aim of improving long-term health outcomes for mother and child, including better cardiovascular health.