Maternal depression or anxiety during pregnancy and offspring type 1 diabetes: A population-based family-design cohort study

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Introduction To investigate the association between maternal depression/anxiety during pregnancy and offspring type 1 diabetes, to assess the specific importance of exposure during pregnancy by comparing across different exposure periods before and/or after pregnancy, and to explore potential unmeasured familial confounding. Research design and methods This was a population-based cohort including 1 807 809 offspring born in Sweden 2002-2019. From national registers, data were available on diagnosis or medication prescription for depression/anxiety in and around pregnancy, as well as incident cases of type 1 diabetes defined through diagnosis or insulin treatment. Associations were examined using flexible parametric and Cox regression models. Familial confounding was explored using paternal exposure as a negative control and by comparing offspring exposed to maternal depression/anxiety with their unexposed siblings. Results For exposure during pregnancy, maternal depression/anxiety was associated with an increased risk of offspring type 1 diabetes onset after, but not before, 8 years of age (adjusted HR (aHR) 1.21 (95% CI 1.03 to 1.42]). Exposure occurring only during pregnancy was similarly associated to type 1 diabetes (aHR 1.24 (0.96 to 1.60)), whereas exposure occurring only before pregnancy was not (aHR 0.91 (0.64 to 1.30)). Associations were close to the null for paternal depression/anxiety (aHR 0.95 (0.72 to 1.25)), and point estimates were above 1 in sibling comparisons, although with wide CIs (aHR 1.36 (0.82 to 2.26)). Conclusions Maternal depression/anxiety specifically during pregnancy seems to be associated with offspring type 1 diabetes. Paternal negative control and sibling comparisons indicate that the results cannot entirely be explained by familial confounding.




Smew, A. I., Lundholm, C., Gong, T., Sävendahl, L., Lichtenstein, P., Brew, B. K., & Almqvist, C. (2023). Maternal depression or anxiety during pregnancy and offspring type 1 diabetes: A population-based family-design cohort study. BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, 11(2).

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