According to a new study published in the journal PLoS One, offspring born to mothers with pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) in the first trimester were less likely to have health issues later in life. Late in pregnancy PIH had the opposite effect. The research was completed by researchers at the University of Copenhagen.

Researchers reviewed medical records for more than 750,000 births. Offspring were followed for up to 30 years and health issues were noted. According to the research, the human body has not moved past all of its hunter-gatherer roots. First-trimester PIH was associated with improved health outcomes for offspring. Researchers believe the risk to maternal health in the first trimester is offset by these improved offspring health outcomes.

When women experienced PIH in the second or third trimester, the results were not the same. Offspring showed signs of increased health risks in these cases - reinforcing the play of natural selection in human reproduction.

Source: Hollegaard B, Byars SG, Lykke J, Boomsma JJ. Parent-offspring conflict and the persistence of pregnancy-induced hypertension in modern humans. PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56821. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056821. Epub 2013 Feb 25.