Maternal cardiometabolic markers in pregnancy on child emotional and behaviour trajectories

Janell Kwok, Daria Khanolainen, Lydia Speyer, Aja Louise Murray, Minna Torppa, Bonnie Auyeung

Research output: Working paperPreprint


Importance: Poor maternal cardiometabolic health in pregnancy have been associated with negative effects on child physical health outcomes, but little is known about its effect on child and adolescent socio-behavioural outcomes over time.

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate associations between maternal cardiometabolic markers during pregnancy with child socio-behavioural trajectories from 4 to 16 years old.

Design: Growth curve models were run to examine how maternal cardiometabolic markers in pregnancy affected child developmental trajectories from age 4 to 16 years old. Models were adjusted for all pregnancy trimesters, maternal, environmental, and child covariates.

Setting: The UK Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children cohort was used in this study.

Participants: Participants consisted of mother-child pairs where maternal cardio-metabolic markers were sampled three times over pregnancy and children’s socio-emotional and behavioural outcomes were reported in follow-up clinics.

Exposures: Maternal cardiometabolic predictors of fasting glucose, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), and body mass index (BMI) were taken from each pregnancy trimester.

Main Outcomes: Child outcomes included emotional problems, conduct problems, and hyperactivity problems from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).

Results: Final sample size was n=15,133. Fully adjusted models showed significant effects of glucose, HDL, BMI, and triglycerides found to be associated with child development trajectories of increased conduct and hyperactivity problems. Risk occurring during earlier trimesters was also associated with increased conduct and hyperactivity problems.

Conclusions: Maternal cardiometabolic risk is associated with conduct and hyperactivity outcomes during childhood and adolescence. This study suggests maternal markers of fasting glucose, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides during pregnancy to be added as supplements for clinical measures of risk when predicting a child’s socio-behavioural development over time. Further research can include examining more metabolic panels to establish associations between more these biomarkers and future child developmental trajectories.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSocial Science Research Network (SSRN)
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameSSRN Electronic Journal


  • pregnancy
  • biomarkers
  • child development
  • metabolic


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