Friday, February 4, 2022

Preeclampsia, Perinatal Complications Linked to Developmental, Psychiatric Disorders in Children

Preeclampsia and perinatal complications such as preterm birth and low birth weight may raise the risk of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents, a study in JAMA Network Open has found.

Linghua Kong, Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and colleagues analyzed data from more than 1 million people born in Finland between January 1, 1996, and December 31, 2014. The researchers followed the children until December 31, 2018, when the oldest in the study were 22 years old. There were no twins, triplets, or other children born in multiple births in the study. The researchers used Finnish health registries to determine how many of the children’s mothers had preeclampsia while pregnant. They also determined how many children were born earlier than 34 weeks’ gestation or had low birth weight, defined together as perinatal complications.

Compared with children who were not exposed to preeclampsia or perinatal complications, children who were exposed only to perinatal complications had 1.77 times the risk of developing any neurodevelopmental or psychiatric disorder, and children who were exposed to both conditions had 2.11 times the risk. Children who were exposed only to preeclampsia did not appear to have increased risk when the researchers adjusted the results to account for shared familial risk factors.

Children who were exposed to both preeclampsia or perinatal complications also had 3.24 times the risk of intellectual disabilities, 3.56 times the risk of developmental disorders, 2.42 times the risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorders, and 2.45 times the risk of other behavioral and emotional disorders compared with children who were exposed to neither condition.

The researchers noted several limitations to the study, including a lack of data on paternal factors.

“[E]xploration of factors moderating and mediating the association of exposure to both preeclampsia and perinatal complications with neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders in offspring is warranted,” Kong and colleagues wrote.

(Image: iStock/AndreyPopov)

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