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Adult Consequences of Fetal Growth Restriction

BARKER, DAVID J. P. FRS

Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology: June 2006 - Volume 49 - Issue 2 - p 270-283
Fetal Growth Restriction

Low birthweight in relation to the length of gestation, is now known to be associated with increased rates of coronary heart disease and the related disorders stroke, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. These associations extend across the whole range of birthweight, which implies that normal variations in nutrient delivery to the fetus have profound long-term effects. The associations are thought to reflect the body's plasticity during development, by which its structure and function can be permanently changed by the intra uterine and early post natal environment. Slow growth during infancy and rapid weight gain after the age of two years exacerbate the effect of slow fetal growth. Cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes arise through a series of interactions between environmental influences and the pathways of development that precede them.

*Department of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon; and Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Division, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

Correspondence: David J. P. Barker, FRS, DOHaD Division, Level F (887), Princess Anne Hospital, Coxford Road, Southampton SO16 5YA, UK. E-mail: djpb@mrc.soton.ac.uk

Copyright © 2006 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.