The Association Between Preeclampsia and Childhood Development and Behavioural Outcomes

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Abstract

Objectives: To examine the associations between preeclampsia and longitudinal child developmental and behavioural outcomes using data from a nationally representative study of children living in Ireland. Methods: We used maternal-reported data from the Growing Up in Ireland longitudinal study of children. Data on preeclampsia and preeclampsia + small for gestational age (SGA) were collected when children were 9-months old. Data on child development and behavioural outcomes were collected at 9-months using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), and at 3 years, 5 years and 7–8 years using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between preeclampsia exposure and failure of ASQ domains, and abnormal SDQ domains. Linear spline multilevel models were used to examine the association between preeclampsia and preeclampsia + SGA and repeated measures of SDQ. All models controlled for several perinatal and sociodemographic factors. Results: A total of 10,692 children were included in the study at baseline, representing a weighted total of 70,791. Multivariate logistic regression suggested that preeclampsia was not associated with failing any ASQ domain. Preeclampsia was associated with abnormal SDQ cut-off of emotional (≥ 5) and hyperactivity (≥ 7) domains at age 5 years only. In the linear spline model, mean SDQ score was higher at each time point in exposed groups. Conclusions for Practice: While we did not find strong evidence of associations between preeclampsia and child developmental and behavioural outcomes overall, some associations between preeclampsia-exposure and subtle behavioural issues did persist. Further research is needed to replicate these findings, and determine the clinical significance of changes in SDQ scores.

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Maher, G. M., O’Keeffe, G. W., O’Keeffe, L. M., Matvienko-Sikar, K., Dalman, C., Kearney, P. M., … Khashan, A. S. (2020). The Association Between Preeclampsia and Childhood Development and Behavioural Outcomes. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 24(6), 727–738. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-020-02921-7

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