This study aimed at examining any relation between the circadian variation in blood pressure (BP) in human pregnancy and fetal growth. A prospective study included 52 pregnant women monitored during the third trimester of pregnancy. There were 33 uncomplicated pregnancies with normal fetal growth (Group 1) and 19 pregnancies complicated by intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), confirmed at birth (Group 2). Ten women (five in each group) had pregnancy-induced hypertension. All women were hospitalized and followed a similar daily routine. BP was recorded with an automatic wearable device. Measurements were obtained every 20 min for 24 ± 1 h. BP profiles were analyzed by conventional statistical methods and by cosinor, involving the least squares fit of cosine curves with an anticipated period (24 h) to the data. BP parameters, fetal outcome, demographic and obstetric characteristics were compared between the two groups. Logistic regression and multivariate analyses were used to assess factors putatively associated with fetal outcome. The circadian amplitude of diastolic BP was found to be larger in normotensive women with IUGR. As gauged by odds ratios (OR), the circadian amplitude of diastolic BP (OR = 1.7, 95% CI: 1.1-2.8; P = 0.03) and hematocrit (OR = 1.4, 95% CI: 1.0-1.9; P = 0.04) were the only variables positively and independently associated with IUGR. In the presence of maternal hypertension, the circadian amplitude of systolic BP was negatively associated with IUGR (OR = 0.7, 95% CI: 0.5-1.0; P = 0.03). A larger circadian variation in diastolic BP, rather than a difference in the mean value of systolic or diastolic BP, was found to be statistically significantly associated with IUGR. This study adds another condition in which the circadian BP amplitude constitutes a harbinger of elevated risk, apart from an association with a shortened lifespan in the absence or presence of malignant hypertension and with an increased risk of stroke and nephropathy reported earlier.
- Blood pressure
- Circadian rhythm
- Human pregnancy
- Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR)
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension