Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Preterm birth has been associated with increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease later in adulthood, attributed to cardiovascular and metabolic alterations in early life. However, there is paucity of evidence from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). METHODS: We investigated the differences between preterm (<37 weeks gestational age) and term-born individuals in birth length and weight as well as adult (18 and 20 years) height, weight and blood pressure in the Brazilian 1993 Pelotas birth cohort using linear regressions. Analyses were adjusted for the maternal weight at the beginning of pregnancy and maternal education and family income at childbirth. Additional models were adjusted for body mass index (BMI) and birthweight. Separate analyses were run for males and females. The complete sample was analysed with an interaction term for sex. RESULTS: Of the 3585 babies included at birth, 3010 were followed up in adulthood at 22 years. Preterm participants had lower length and weight at birth. This difference remained for male participants in adulthood, but female participants were no shorter than their term counterparts by 18 years of age. At 22 years, females born preterm had lower blood pressures (systolic blood pressure -1.00 mmHg, 95%CI -2.7, 0.7 mmHg; diastolic blood pressure -1.1 mmHg, 95%CI -2.4, 0.3 mmHg) than females born at term. These differences were not found in male participants. CONCLUSIONS: In this Brazilian cohort we found contrasting results regarding the association of preterm birth with blood pressure in young adulthood, which may be unique to an LMIC.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Epidemiol

Publication Date



Preterm birth, blood pressure, growth, low- and middle-income countries