Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Women who were born at a low birth weight risk complications in their own pregnancies, a study says.
Researchers from Australia found that women who weighed under 5.5 pounds at birth were 1.7 times likely to develop preeclampsia during pregnancy versus women who weighed between 6.614 and 7.716 pounds at birth.
Women who weighed between 7.716 and 8.816 pounds were found to have a 40 reduced risk of preeclampsia.
The study was published in the journal Obesity.
Preeclampsia usually strikes women 20 weeks into pregnancy and causes high blood pressure and organ damage, according to the Mayo Clinic. Excess protein in urine, severe headaches, changes in vision and shortness of breath are some of the symptoms of preeclampsia.
The short-term costs to the U.S. healthcare system to treat the condition are $2.18 billion 12 months after childbirth, according to a 2017 study.
For women who were underweight at birth but became overweight or obese, the risk for preeclampsia increased greatly.
"Further studies assessing the influence of modifiable factors including diet and exercise on the relationship between low birth weight and pregnancy complications may yield important results on whether modifiable lifestyle factors could reduce the risk of pregnancy complications among those born small," Prabha Andraweera, a researcher at The University of Adelaide and study lead author, said in a news release.
While there are no definite ways to avoid preeclampsia, experts say taking low-dose aspirin and calcium supplements may help reduce a woman's risk of developing the condition.