Maternal antenatal stress and mental and behavioral disorders in their children

Soile Tuovinen, Marius Lahti-Pulkkinen, Polina Girchenko, Kati Heinonen, Jari Lahti, Rebecca M Reynolds, Esa Hämäläinen, Pia M. Villa, Eero Kajantie, Hannele Laivuori, Katri Raikkonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Maternal antenatal stress, including symptoms of depression, anxiety and perceived stress, is associated with mental and behavioral problems in children. Whether it is associated with child mental and behavioral disorders remains uncertain. We examined if maternal antenatal symptoms of depression, anxiety and perceived stress were associated with mental and behavioral disorders in their children, if the associations varied according to gestational week, stress type, fluctuating or consistently high symptoms, and if they were driven by maternal or paternal lifetime mood or anxiety disorders.
Methods: 3365 mothers participating in the Prediction and Prevention of Preeclampsia and Intrauterine Growth Restriction (PREDO) study completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, the State Anxiety Inventory and the Perceived Stress Scale up to 14 times throughout pregnancy. The Care Register for Health Care provided data on mental and behavioral (including neurodevelopmental) disorders for their children from birth (11/07/2006–07/24/2010) until 12/31/2016 and for parental lifetime mood and anxiety disorders until 12/31/2016.
Results: The hazard of any childhood mental and behavioral disorder (HR=1.91, 95% CI: 1.39–2.51) was significantly higher for children whose mothers reported consistently high in comparison to consistently low levels of all types of stress throughout pregnancy. The associations remained significant when adjusted for maternal and paternal lifetime mood and anxiety disorders (and their comorbidity and timing and mood disorder type).
Conclusion: Maternal antenatal stress is associated with higher risk of childhood mental and behavioral disorders. Efforts to reduce maternal antenatal stress should be given a high priority to improve child mental health.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of affective disorders
Volume278
Early online date15 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Sep 2020

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Maternal antenatal stress and mental and behavioral disorders in their children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this