A recent study conducted by an international team of researchers, including those from the University of Bristol, has found that exposure to outdoor humidity and temperature levels during pregnancy can affect a child’s blood pressure.
The study revealed that higher relative humidity during pregnancy is associated with a steeper increase in childhood blood pressure, while higher temperatures are linked to a slower increase. Although it is normal for blood pressure to rise as children grow, the study showed a slightly bigger increase in blood pressure for children exposed to higher humidity during pregnancy.
The researchers emphasized the importance of understanding the impact of these environmental factors on blood pressure, as children with higher blood pressure are more likely to have higher blood pressure as adults, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and vascular dementia.
The study analysed blood pressure measurements in over 7,000 participants aged between 3 and 24 years to assess the relationship between exposure to various urban environmental characteristics during pregnancy, such as temperature and pollution, and blood pressure from childhood to early adulthood. The analyses were repeated in four other European groups, collectively including over 9,000 participants.
While the mechanisms underlying the link between ambient environmental conditions and blood pressure are not fully understood, the researchers suggested that lower ambient temperature activates the sympathetic nervous system and increases vasoconstriction, leading to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure However, further investigation is needed to understand how outdoor temperature and humidity during pregnancy might influence offspring blood pressure .
The findings of this study highlight the importance of considering weather-related conditions during pregnancy and their potential impact on a child’s blood pressure. Further research is needed to inform strategies for preventing cardiovascular disease in later adulthood related to prenatal environmental exposures.
In conclusion, exposure to outdoor humidity and temperature levels during pregnancy has been found to affect a child’s blood pressure. Higher relative humidity during pregnancy is associated with a steeper increase in childhood blood pressure, while higher temperatures are linked to a slower increase. Understanding the impact of these environmental factors is crucial for preventing cardiovascular disease in later adulthood.