Risk of intellectual disability in children born appropriate-for-gestational-age at term or post-term: impact of birth weight for gestational age and gestational age

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Abstract

Children born small for gestational age have a higher risk of intellectual disability. We investigated associations of birth weight for gestational age percentile and gestational age with risk of intellectual disability in appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA) children. We included 828,948 non-malformed term or post-term AGA singleton children (including 429,379 full siblings) born between 1998 and 2009 based on data from the Swedish Medical Birth Register. Diagnosis of intellectual disability after 3 years of age was identified through the Patient Register. Using Cox regression models, we calculated hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of intellectual disability among children with different birth weight percentiles and gestational age in the whole population and in a subpopulation of full siblings. A total of 1688 children were diagnosed with intellectual disability during follow-up. HRs (95% CIs) of intellectual disability for the low birth weight percentile groups (10th–24th and 25th–39th percentiles, respectively) versus the reference group (40th–59th percentiles) were 1.43 (1.22–1.67) and 1.28 (1.10–1.50) in population analysis and 1.52 (1.00–2.31) and 1.44 (1.00–2.09) in sibling comparison analysis. The increased risk for low birth weight percentiles in population analysis was stable irrespective of gestational age. A weak U-shaped association between gestational age and intellectual disability was observed in population analysis, although not in sibling comparison analysis. These findings suggest that among AGA children born at term or post-term, lower birth weight percentiles within the normal range are associated with increased risk of intellectual disability, regardless of gestational age.

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Chen, R., Tedroff, K., Villamor, E., Lu, D., & Cnattingius, S. (2020). Risk of intellectual disability in children born appropriate-for-gestational-age at term or post-term: impact of birth weight for gestational age and gestational age. European Journal of Epidemiology, 35(3), 273–282. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10654-019-00590-7

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