BACKGROUND: We hypothesized that hemodynamic adaptations related to pregnancy and ageing might be associated with differences in blood pressure levels during pregnancy between younger and older women. This might partly explain the increased risk of gestational hypertensive disorders with advanced maternal age. We examined the associations of maternal age with systolic and diastolic blood pressure in each trimester of pregnancy and the risks of gestational hypertensive disorders. METHODS: The study was conducted among 8,623 women participating in a population-based prospective cohort study from early pregnancy onwards. Age was assessed at enrolment. Blood pressure was measured in each trimester. Information about gestational hypertensive disorders was available from medical records. RESULTS: In second and third trimester, older maternal age was associated with lower systolic blood pressure (-0.9mmHg (95% confidence interval: -1.4, -0.3) and -0.6mmHg (95% confidence interval: -1.1, -0.02) per additional 10 maternal years, respectively). Older maternal age was associated with higher third trimester diastolic blood pressure (0.5mmHg (95% confidence interval: 0.04, 0.9) per additional 10 maternal years). Maternal age was associated with pregnancy-induced hypertension among overweight and obese women. CONCLUSION: Older maternal age is associated with lower second and third trimester systolic blood pressure, but higher third trimester diastolic blood pressure. These blood pressure differences seem to be small and within the physiological range. Maternal age is not consistently associated with the risks of gestational hypertensive disorders. Maternal body mass index might influence the association between maternal age and the risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension.

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Keywords blood pressure, cohort study, hypertension, maternal age, preeclampsia, pregnancy, pregnancy-induced hypertension
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Journal American Journal of Hypertension
Gaillard, R, Bakker, R, Steegers, E.A.P, Hofman, A, & Jaddoe, V.W.V. (2011). Maternal age during pregnancy is associated with third trimester blood pressure level: The generation R study. American Journal of Hypertension, 24(9), 1046–1053. doi:10.1038/ajh.2011.95