To explore associations of maternal prenatal smoking and child psychological problems and determine the role of causal intrauterine mechanisms.
Patients and Methods
Maternal smoking and child psychological problems were explored in 2 birth cohorts in Pelotas, Brazil (n=509; random sub-sample) and Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), Britain (n=6,735). Four approaches for exploring causal mechanisms were applied: 1) cross-population comparisons between a high-income and a middle-income country, 2) multiple adjustment for socioeconomic and parental psychological factors, 3) maternal-paternal comparisons as a test of putative intrauterine effects; and 4) search for specific effects on different behavioural subscales.
Socioeconomic patterning of maternal prenatal smoking was stronger in the ALSPAC compared with the Pelotas cohort. Despite this difference in a key confounder, consistency in observed associations was found between these cohorts. In both cohorts, unadjusted, maternal smoking was associated with greater offspring hyperactivity, conduct/externalizing problems, and peer problems, but not with emotional/internalizing problems. After adjusting for confounders and paternal prenatal smoking, only the association with conduct/externalizing problems persisted in both cohorts (conduct problems in the ALSPAC cohort, odds ratio OR: 1.24 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.07–1.46], p= .005; externalizing problems in the Pelotas cohort, OR:1.82 [95% CI:1.19–2.78], p=.005; ORs reflect ordinal ORs of maternal smokers having offspring with higher scores). Maternal smoking associations were stronger than paternal smoking associations, although statistical evidence for differences was weak in 1 cohort.
Evidence from 4 approaches suggests a possible intrauterine effect of maternal smoking on offspring conduct/externalizing problems.
ALSPAC; Pelotas; prenatal smoking; child; behavioral problems; developmental origins
We investigated the association between maternal anthropometric measurements in prepregnancy and at the end of pregnancy and their children's systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure at 11 years of age, in a prospective cohort study.
All hospital births which took place in 1993 in the city of Pelotas - Brazil, were identified (5,249 live births). In 2004, the overall proportion of follow-up was 85% and we obtained arterial blood pressure measurements of 4,452 adolescents.
Independent variables analyzed included maternal prepregnancy weight and body mass index (BMI) and maternal weight, and height at the end of pregnancy. Multiple linear regression analysis controlling for the following confounders were carried out: adolescent's skin color, family income at birth, smoking, alcohol intake during pregnancy, and gestational arterial hypertension. Mean SBP and DBP were 101.9 mmHg (SD 12.3) and 63.4 mmHg (SD 9.9), respectively. Maternal prepregnancy weight and BMI, and weight at the end of pregnancy were positively associated with both SBP and DBP in adolescent subjects of both sexes; maternal height was positively associated with SBP only among males.
Adequate evaluation of maternal anthropometric characteristics during pregnancy may prevent high levels of blood pressure among adolescent children.
Socioeconomic inequalities in health outcomes are dynamic and vary over time. Differences between countries can provide useful insights into the causes of health inequalities. The study aims to compare the associations between two measures of socioeconomic position (SEP)—maternal education and family income—and maternal and infant health outcomes between ALSPAC and Pelotas cohorts.
Birth cohort studies were started in Avon, UK, in 1991 (ALSPAC) and in the city of Pelotas, Brazil, in 1982, 1993 and 2004. Maternal outcomes included smoking during pregnancy, caesarean section and delivery not attended by a doctor. Infant outcomes were preterm birth, intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) and breast feeding for <3 months. The relative index of inequality was used for each measure of SEP so that results were comparable between cohorts.
An inverse association (higher prevalence among the poorest and less educated) was observed for almost all outcomes, with the exception of caesarean sections where a positive association was found. Stronger income-related inequalities for smoking and education-related inequalities for breast feeding were found in the ALSPAC study. However, greater inequalities in caesarean section and education-related inequalities in preterm birth were observed in the Pelotas cohorts.
Mothers and infants have more adverse health outcomes if they are from poorer and less well-educated socioeconomic backgrounds in both Brazil and the UK. However, our findings demonstrate the dynamic nature of the association between SEP and health outcomes. Examining differential socioeconomic patterning of maternal and infant health outcomes might help understanding of mechanisms underlying such inequalities.
Socioeconomic factors; health status disparities; cohort studies; pregnancy; infant; longitudinal studies; social inequalities
Matijasevich A, Howe LD, Tilling K, Santos IS, Barros AJD, Lawlor DA. Maternal education inequalities in height growth rates in early childhood: 2004 Pelotas birth cohort study. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2012; 26: 236–249.
Socio-economic inequalities in attained height have been reported in many countries. The aim of this study was to explore the age at which maternal education inequalities in child height emerge among children from a middle-income country. Using data from the 2004 Pelotas cohort study from Brazil we modelled individual height growth trajectories in 2106 boys and 1947 girls from birth to 4 years using a linear spline mixed-effects model. We examined the associations of maternal education with birth length and trajectories of growth in length/height, and explored the effect of adjusting for a number of potential confounder or mediator factors.
We showed linear and positive associations of maternal education with birth length and length/height growth rates at 0–3 months and 12–29/32 months with very little association at 3–12 months, particularly in boys. By age 4 years the mean height of boys was 101.06 cm (SE = 0.28) in the lowest and 104.20 cm (SE = 0.15) in the highest education category (mean difference 3.14 cm, SE = 0.32, P < 0.001). Among girls the mean height was 100.02 cm (SE = 0.27) and 103.03 cm (SE = 0.15) in the lowest and highest education categories, respectively (mean difference 3.01 cm, SE = 0.31, P < 0.001). For both boys and girls there was on average a 3-cm difference between the extreme education categories. Adjusting for maternal height reduced the observed birth length differences across maternal education categories, but differences in postnatal growth rates persisted.
Our data demonstrate an increase in the absolute and relative inequality in height after birth; inequality increases from approximately 0.2 standard deviations of birth length to approximately 0.7 standard deviations of height at age 4, indicating that height inequality, which was already present at birth, widened through differential growth rates to age 2 years.
childhood height; Pelotas birth cohort; maternal education; child growth
This study was aimed at assessing the effect of maternal smoking during pregnancy on metabolic cardiovascular risk factors in early adulthood in a Brazilian birth cohort, after controlling for possible confounding variables and health behaviors in early adulthood.
In 1982, the maternity hospitals in Pelotas, southern Brazil, were visited and all births were identified. Those livebirths whose family lived in the urban area of the city were studied prospectively. In 2004–2005, we attempted to follow the whole cohort, the subjects were interviewed, examined and blood sample was collected. The following outcomes were studied: blood pressure; HDL cholesterol; triglycerides; random blood glucose and C-reactive protein. To explore the effect of maternal smoking, we adjusted the coefficients for the following possible mediators: perinatal factors (low birthweight and preterm births); adult behavioral factors (physical activity, dietary pattern, intake of fat and fiber, and tobacco smoking) and adult anthropometry (body mass index and waist circumference).
In 2004–2005, we interviewed 4297 subjects, with a follow-up rate of 77.4%. The only significant finding in the unadjusted analyses was lower HDL cholesterol among females. After adjustment for lifestyle variables in early adulthood, birthweight and waist circumference, the difference in HDL levels between offspring of smokers and non-smokers reduced from −2.10 mg/dL (95% confidence interval: −3.39; −0.80) to −1.03 mg/dL (−2.35; 0.30).
Evidence that maternal smoking during pregnancy programs offspring metabolic cardiovascular risk factors are scarce, and reported associations are likely due to postnatal exposure to lifestyle patterns.
Maternal smoking; Pregnancy; Cardiovascular; Risk factor
Background Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with reduced offspring birth length and has been postulated as a risk factor for obesity. Causality for obesity is not established. Causality is well-supported for birth length, but evidence on persistence of height deficits is inconsistent.
Methods We examined the association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and trajectories of offspring height (0–10 years, N = 9424), ponderal index (PI) (0–2 years, N = 9321) and body mass index (BMI) (2–10 years, N = 8887) in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. To strengthen inference, measured confounders were controlled for, maternal and partner smoking associations were compared, dose–response and associations with post-natal smoking were examined.
Results Maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated with shorter birth length, faster height growth in infancy and slower growth in later childhood. By 10 years, daughters of women who smoke during pregnancy are on average 1.11 cm (SE = 0.27) shorter after adjustment for confounders and partner smoking; the difference is 0.22 cm (SE = 0.22) for partner's smoking. Maternal smoking was associated with lower PI at birth, faster PI increase in infancy, but not with BMI changes 2–10 years. Associations were stronger for maternal than partner smoking for PI at birth and PI changes in infancy, but not for BMI changes after 2 years. A similar dose–response in both maternal and partner smoking was seen for BMI change 2–10 years.
Conclusion Maternal smoking during pregnancy has an intrauterine effect on birth length, and possibly on adiposity at birth and changes in height and adiposity in infancy. We do not find evidence of a specific intrauterine effect on height or adiposity changes after the age of 2 years.
Smoking; growth; obesity; pregnancy; child; ALSPAC
Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in offspring. It is assumed by many that this association is causal. Others suggest that observed associations are due to unmeasured genetic factors or other confounding factors. The authors compared risks of maternal smoking during pregnancy with those of paternal smoking during pregnancy. With a causal intrauterine effect, no independent association should be observed between paternal smoking and offspring ADHD. If the association is due to confounding factors, risks of offspring ADHD should be of similar magnitudes regardless of which parent smokes. This hypothesis was tested in 8,324 children from a well-characterized United Kingdom prospective cohort study, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (data from 1991–2000). Associations between offspring ADHD and maternal and paternal smoking during pregnancy were compared using regression analyses. Offspring ADHD symptoms were associated with exposure to both maternal and paternal smoking during pregnancy (mothers: β = 0.25, 95% confidence interval: 0.18, 0.32; fathers: β = 0.21, 95% confidence interval: 0.15, 0.27). When paternal smoking was examined in the absence of maternal smoking, associations remained and did not appear to be due to passive smoking exposure in utero. These findings suggest that associations between maternal smoking during pregnancy and child ADHD may be due to genetic or household-level confounding rather than to causal intrauterine effects.
attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity; causality; confounding factors (epidemiology); maternal exposure; paternal exposure; pregnancy; prenatal exposure delayed effects; smoking
To evaluate the effect of (1) maternal smoking during pregnancy; and (2) partner smoking on offspring's height in infancy, childhood, and adolescence.
All hospital live births from 1993 (5,249) were identified, and these infants were followed up at several ages. Height for age, expressed as z-scores using the World Health Organization growth curves, was measured at all follow-up visits. Maternal smoking during pregnancy was collected retrospectively at birth and analyzed as number of cigarettes/day smoked categorized in four categories (never smoked, <10, 10–19, and ≥20 cigarettes/day). Partner smoking was analyzed as a dichotomous variable (No/Yes). Unadjusted and adjusted analyses were performed by use of linear regression.
The prevalence of self-reported maternal smoking during pregnancy was 33.5%. In the crude analysis, the number of cigarettes/day smoked by the mother during pregnancy negatively affected offspring's height in infancy, childhood, and adolescence. After adjustment for confounders and mediators, this association remained statistically significant, although the magnitude of the regression coefficients was reduced. Paternal smoking was not associated with offspring's height in the adjusted analyses.
In addition to the well-known harmful effects of smoking, maternal smoking during pregnancy negatively affects offspring's height. Public health policies aimed at continuing to reduce the prevalence of maternal smoking during pregnancy must be encouraged.
Smoking; Height by age; Body height; Growth; Child; Adolescent; Cohort studies
Maternal smoking during pregnancy has been reported to negatively impact sperm counts of the sons. Sufficient data on the effect of paternal smoking is lacking.
We wished to elucidate the impact of maternal and paternal smoking during pregnancy and current own smoking on reproductive function of the male offspring.
Semen parameters including sperm DNA integrity were analyzed in 295 adolescents from the general population close to Malmö, Sweden, recruited for the study during 2008–2010. Information on maternal smoking was obtained from the Swedish Medical Birth Register, and regarding own and paternal smoking from questionnaires. The impacts of maternal, paternal and own smoking were evaluated in a multivariate regression model and by use of models including interaction terms. Totally, three exposures and five outcomes were evaluated.
In maternally unexposed men, paternal smoking was associated with 46% lower total sperm count (95%CI: 21%, 64%) in maternally unexposed men. Both paternal and maternal smoking were associated with a lower sperm concentration (mean differences: 35%; 95%CI: 8.1%, 55% and 36%; 95%CI: 3.9%, 57%, respectively) if the other parent was a non-smoker. No statistically significant impact of own smoking on semen parameters was seen.
Prenatal both maternal and paternal smoking were separately associated with some decrease in sperm count in men of whom the other parent was not reported to smoke.
To explore the association between birthweight in offspring, a marker of the intrauterine environment, and mortality in their mothers taking into account maternal pre-pregnancy characteristics, including maternal BMI, smoking, and socioeconomic status. Distinguishing the effects of offspring’s birthweight and pre-pregnancy characteristics on maternal outcome may provide clues regarding mechanisms underlying the association between birth weight and maternal mortality.
We studied long-term total mortality (average follow-up period 29.1 years) in a population-based cohort of 13,185 mothers, aged 15 to 48 years at their offspring’s birth, who delivered in West Jerusalem during 1974–76
Univariate and multivariate Cox-proportional hazard models used to estimate the hazard of overall mortality among mothers indicated a non-linear relationship with birthweight of offspring when introduced into the models as a continuous variable, and a linear positive association with maternal pre-pregnancy BMI. Inclusion of maternal BMI and other pre-pregnancy characteristics in the model did not alter the association between offspring’s birthweight and mothers’ all-cause mortality.
When birthweight was introduced as a categorical variable, higher mortality was observed among mothers who gave birth to babies with birthweight < 2500 gr (HR=1.90; 95%CI 1.23–2.94) as compared to mothers whose offspring had birthweight between 3000 and 3499 gr. The hazard ratio for mothers who gave birth to babies with birth weight ≥ 4000 gr was 1.30 (95%CI 0.88–1.91).
Independent of pre-pregnancy maternal BMI and other characteristics, birthweight of offspring was associated with mortality in their mothers, suggesting that intra-uterine metabolic events reflected by birth weight and not explained by maternal obesity, smoking, and SES have remote consequences for maternal health. These findings underline the need to explore specific genetic and/or environmental mechanisms that account for these associations.
The postnatal period is the ideal time to deliver interventions to improve the health of both the newborn and the mother. However, postnatal care shows low-level coverage in a large number of countries. The objectives of this study were to: 1) investigate inequities in maternal postnatal visits, 2) examine differences in postnatal care coverage between public and private providers and 3) explore the relationship between the absence of maternal postnatal visits and exclusive breastfeeding, use of contraceptive methods and maternal smoking three months after birth.
In the calendar year of 2004 a birth cohort study was started in the city of Pelotas, Brazil. Mothers were interviewed soon after delivery and at three months after birth. The absence of postnatal visits was defined as having no consultations between the time of hospital discharge and the third month post-partum. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the association between absence of postnatal visits and type of insurance scheme adjusting for potential confounding factors.
Poorer women, black/mixed, those with lower level of education, single mothers, adolescents, multiparae, smokers, women who delivered vaginally and those who were not assisted by a physician were less likely to attend postnatal care. Postnatal visits were also less frequent among women who relied in the public sector than among private patients (72.4% vs 96% among public and private patients, respectively, x2 p < 0.001) and this difference was not explained either by maternal characteristics or by health care utilization patterns. Women who attended postnatal visits were more likely to exclusively breastfeed their infants, to use contraceptive methods and to be non-smokers three months after birth.
Postpartum care is available for every woman free of charge in the Brazilian Publicly-funded health care system. However, low levels of postpartum care were seen in the study (77%). Efforts should be made to increase the percentage of women receiving postpartum care, particularly those in socially disadvantaged groups. This could include locally-adapted health education interventions that address women's beliefs and attitudes towards postpartum care. There is a need to monitor postpartum care and collected data should be used to guide policies for health care systems.
To examine associations between maternal height and child growth during four developmental periods: intrauterine, birth to age 2y, age 2y to mid-childhood, and mid-childhood to adulthood.
Pooled analysis of maternal height and offspring growth using 7630 mother-child pairs from five birth cohorts (Brazil, Guatemala, India, Philippines and South Africa). We used conditional height measures that control for collinearity in height across periods. We estimated associations between maternal height and offspring growth using multivariate regression models adjusted for household income, child sex, birth order and study site.
Maternal height was associated with birthweight and with both height and conditional height at each age examined. The strongest associations with conditional heights were for adulthood and 2y. A 1 cm increase in maternal height predicted a 0.024 (95%CI: 0.021 - 0.028) SD increase in offspring birthweight, a 0.037 (95%CI: 0.033 – 0.040) SD increase in conditional height at 2 y, a 0.025 (95%CI: 0.021 – 0.029 SD increase in conditional height in mid-childhood, and a 0.044 (95%CI: 0.040-0.048) SD increase in conditional height in adulthood. Short mothers (< 150 cm) were more likely to have a child who was stunted at 2 years (PR=3.20 (95% CI: 2.80–3.60) and as an adult (PR=4.74, (95% CI: 4.13-5.44). There was no evidence of heterogeneity by site or sex.
Maternal height influences offspring linear growth over the growing period. These influences likely include genetic and non-genetic factors, including nutrition-related intergenerational influences on growth that prevent the attainment of genetic height potential in low and middle income countries.
Maternal height; Child; Conditional Growth; Intergenerational Influences; COHORTS
In a prospective cohort from Brazil, we evaluated the incidence of fractures from birth to early adolescence and examined risk factors for fractures. The incidence was 14.2% (95%CI 13.2, 15.2). Male sex, birth length, and maternal age at delivery were positively associated with the risk of fractures.
This study aims to evaluate the incidence of fractures from birth to 11 years of age and to explore the effect of early life variables on the risk of fractures.
All children (N = 5,249) born in 1993 in the city of Pelotas, Brazil were enrolled in a prospective birth cohort study. In 2004–2005, 87.5% of the cohort members were sought for a follow-up visit. History of fractures, including anatomic site and age of the fracture were asked to mothers.
The incidence of fractures from birth to 11 years of age was 14.2% (95%CI 13.2, 15.2). Out of the 628 subjects who experienced a fracture, 91 reported two and only 20 reported three or more fractures. Male sex, birth length, and maternal age at delivery were positively associated with the risk of fractures. No consistent associations were found for family income, maternal body mass index, smoking during pregnancy, and birth weight.
Birth length seems to have long-term effect on musculoskeletal health. The higher risk of fractures among children of older mothers needs to be confirmed by other studies. In accordance to the developmental origins of diseases, fractures seem to be, at least in part, programmed in early life.
Epidemiology; Fractures; Musculoskeletal disorders; Prospective studies
To describe the methods employed in the longitudinal and follow-up studies of children born in Pelotas (Southern Brazil) in 1982.
The cohort began with a perinatal health survey that included all 6,011 children born in maternity wards in Pelotas in 1982. The 5,914 children born alive in the city were included in the follow-up studies. By 2004-5, we had conducted eight follow-ups, which consisted of the administration of questionnaires to mothers and/or cohort members, depending on age, in addition to anthropometric and clinical examination. Cohort subjects are described in terms of demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related variables collected during early follow-up studies, which are used as exposure variables.
The majority of subjects in the cohort were followed for 23 years and on multiple occasions. The most successful follow-ups were those preceded by a city census. Using this method, we were able to locate 87.2% of subjects in 1984 (mean age 19 months), 84.1% in 1986 (mean age 43 months), and 77.4% in 2004-5, and 77.4% in 2004-5 (mean age 23 years).
Birth cohort studies can be carried out successfully in developing countries, and the methods employed in this life-cycle study have allowed us to investigate the influence of early exposures in determining disease outcomes in adult life.
Cohort Studies; Epidemiologic Methods; Statistical Methods and Procedures; Child Development; Human Development; Brasil
Socioeconomic inequalities in child nutrition may change rapidly over time, particularly in populations undergoing the nutrition transition. Yet, the few available studies are repeated cross-sectional surveys. By studying three prospective birth cohorts in the same city over a period of more than two decades, we describe secular trends in overweight and stunting at different ages, according to socioeconomic position.
Population-based birth cohort studies were launched in the city of Pelotas (Brazil) in 1982, 1993 and 2004, with follow-up visits at twelve, 24 and 48 months. Children were weighed and measured at every visit. Z-scores of length/height-for-age and body mass index-for-age were calculated using the WHO Child Growth Standards. The slope and relative indices of inequality, based on family income quintiles, were estimated for each follow-up visit.
Between the 1982 and 2004 cohorts, stunting among four-year-olds declined (from 10.9% to 3.6%), while overweight increased (from 7.6% to 12.3%). In every visit, stunting prevalence was inversely related to income. Both absolute and relative inequalities declined over time; among four-year-olds stunting dropped from 26.0% in the 1982 cohort to 6.7% in the 2004 cohort in the poorest group, while in the richest group stunting prevalence dropped from 2.7% in 1982 to 1.1% in the 2004 cohort study. The secular trend towards increased overweight was evident for four-year-olds, in almost all socioeconomic groups, but not among one and two-year-olds. Among four-year old children, overweight prevalence increased in all income quintiles, by 130% in the middle-income group, 64% in the poorest and 41% in the richest group.
The decline in stunting is remarkable, but the increase in overweight among four-year olds – particularly among the poorest and the middle-income groups– requires concerted efforts to prevent the long term consequences of child overweight.
Socioeconomic factors; Health status disparities; Cohort studies; Child nutrition; Overweight; Stunting
We investigated an intrauterine influence of maternal smoking during pregnancy on childhood bone mass. Daughters, but not sons, of mothers who smoked had higher bone mass at age 10 years. This appears to be due to familial factors related to parental smoking influencing increased offspring adiposity rather than a direct intrauterine effect.
Neonatal studies have demonstrated an adverse relationship between maternal smoking in pregnancy and foetal bone mineral accrual. We aimed to investigate an intrauterine influence of maternal smoking during pregnancy on offspring bone mass at mean age 9.9 years.
We compared associations of maternal and paternal smoking in pregnancy with offspring total body less head (TBLH) and spine bone mineral content (BMC), bone area (BA), bone mineral density (BMD) and area-adjusted BMC (ABMC) in 7,121 children in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.
Maternal smoking in any trimester was associated with increased TBLH BMC, BA and BMD in girls (mean difference [95% CI] (sex-specific SD scores), 0.13 [0.05–0.22], 0.13 [0.04–0.21], 0.13 [0.04–0.22], respectively) but not boys (0.01 [−0.07–0.09], 0.00 [−0.08–0.08], 0.04 [−0.05–0.12]), and also with spine BMC, BA and BMD in girls (0.13 [0.03–0.23], 0.12 [0.03–0.22], 0.10 [0.00–0.21]) but not boys (0.03 [−0.06–0.12], 0.00 [−0.09–0.09], 0.05 [−0.04–0.14]), but not with ABMC. Paternal smoking associations were similar, with no statistical evidence for a difference between maternal and paternal effects. Maternal associations increased on adjustment for offspring birth weight and gestational age, but attenuated to the null after adjustment for current height and weight.
We found little evidence that maternal smoking was related to bone mass in boys. In girls, maternal smoking associations were similar to those of paternal smoking, suggesting that these were attributable to shared familial characteristics, not intrauterine mechanisms.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00198-010-1415-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
ALSPAC; Bone mineral content (BMC); Bone mineral density (BMD); Childhood; Pregnancy; Smoking
We assessed anthropometric status, breastfeeding duration, morbidity, and mortality outcomes during the first four years of life according to gestational age, in three population-based birth cohorts in the city of Pelotas, Southern Brazil.
Total breastfeeding duration, neonatal mortality, infant morbidity and mortality, and anthropometric measures taken at 12 and 48 months were evaluated in children of different gestational ages born in 1982, 1993 and 2004 in Southern Brazil.
Babies born <34 weeks of gestation and those born between 34–36 weeks presented increased morbidity and mortality, were breastfed for shorter periods, and were more likely to be undernourished at 12 months of life, in comparison with the 39–41 weeks group. Children born with 37 weeks were more than twice as likely to die in the first year of life, and were also at increased risk of hospitalization and underweight at 12 months of life. Post-term infants presented an increased risk of neonatal mortality.
The increased risks of morbidity and mortality among preterm (<37 weeks of gestation) and post-term (>41 weeks) are well known. In our population babies born at 37 also present increased risk. As the proportion of preterm and early term babies has increased markedly in recent years, this is a cause for great concern.
Gestational age; Preterm births; Early term births; Post-term births; Infant mortality; Neonatal mortality
The role of young maternal age as a determinant of adverse child health outcomes is controversial, with existing studies providing conflicting results. This work assessed the association between adolescent childbearing and early offspring mortality in three birth cohort studies from the city of Pelotas in Southern Brazil.
All hospital births from 1982 (6,011), 1993 (5,304), and 2004 (4,287) were identified and these infants were followed up. Deaths were monitored through vital registration, visits to hospitals and cemeteries. The analyses were restricted to women younger than 30 years who delivered singletons (72%, 70% and 67% of the original cohorts, respectively). Maternal age was categorized into three groups (< 16, 16-19, and 20-29 years). Further analyses compared mothers aged 12-19 and 20-29 years. The outcome variables included fetal, perinatal, neonatal, postneonatal and infant mortality. Crude and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were estimated with logistic regression models.
There were no interactions between maternal age and cohort year. After adjustment for confounding, pooled ORs for mothers aged 12-19 years were 0.6 (95% CI = 0.4; 1.0) for fetal death, 0.9 (0.6; 1.3) for perinatal death, 1.0 (0.7; 1.6) for early neonatal death, 1.6 (0.7; 3.4) for late neonatal death, 1.8 (1.1; 2.9) for postneonatal death, and 1.6 (1.2; 2.1) for infant death, when compared to mothers aged 20-29 years. Further adjustment for mediating variables led to the disappearance of the excess of postneonatal mortality. The number of mothers younger than 16 years was not sufficient for most analyses.
The slightly increased odds of postneonatal mortality among children of adolescent mothers suggest that social and environmental factors may be more important than maternal biologic immaturity.
pregnancy in adolescence; infant mortality; neonatal mortality; perinatal mortality; fetal mortality; cohort studies
To assess the effect of weight gain in childhood on blood lipid levels in adolescence.
A population-based birth cohort carried out in Pelotas, Southern Brazil. All newborns in the city's hospitals were enrolled in 1982. The subjects have been followed up for several times in childhood. At age 18, 79% of all males were followed, and 2083 blood samples were available. Adjusted analyses controlled for household assets index, family income, parental schooling at birth, maternal smoking during pregnancy and breastfeeding duration.
Birth weight for gestational age and weight gain in the first 20 months was not associated with blood lipid levels in adolescence. On the other hand, those subjects whose weight gain from 20 to 42 months of age was faster than that predicted from birth weight and weight-for-age z-score at the mean age of 20 months had lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) cholesterol [−0.78 (95% confidence interval: −1.28; −0.29)] and higher very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL)/HDL ratio in adolescence. After controlling for current body mass index (BMI), the regression coefficient for HDL cholesterol decreased from −0.78 mg/dL to −0.29 mg/dL (95% confidence interval: −1.00 to 0.05).
Weight gain from 2 to 4 years is related to an atherogenic lipid profile in adolescence and this association is mediated by current BMI.
Blood lipids; Catch-up growth; Cholesterol; Cohort
The aim of the study was to examine the effects of tobacco smoking in pregnancy on children's IQ at the age of 5. A prospective follow-up study was conducted on 1,782 women, and their offspring were sampled from the Danish National Birth Cohort. At 5 years of age, the children were tested with the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised. Parental education, maternal IQ, maternal alcohol consumption in pregnancy, the sex and age of the child, and tester were considered core confounders, but the full model also controlled for prenatal paternal smoking, maternal age and Bodymass Mass Index, parity, family/home environment, postnatal parental smoking, breast feeding, the child's health status, and indicators for hearing and vision impairments.
Unadjusted analyses showed a statistically significant decrement of 4 points on full-scale IQ (FSIQ) associated with smoking 10+ cigarettes per day compared to nonsmoking. After adjustment for potential confounders, no significant effects of prenatal exposure to tobacco smoking were found. Considering the indisputable teratogenic effects of tobacco smoking, these findings should be interpreted with caution. Still, the results may indicate that previous studies that failed to control for important confounders, particularly maternal intelligence, may be subject to substantial residual confounding.
To examine the association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and the development of smoking behaviour patterns among young adult offspring.
Data were from the Mater‐University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP), a birth cohort of 7223 mothers and children enrolled in Brisbane, Australia, in 1981. The development of smoking behaviours (early or late onset, or combination of onset and prevalence patterns) among offspring at age 21 years with different patterns of maternal smoking (never smoked, smoked before or after pregnancy but not during pregnancy, or smoked during pregnancy) were compared. Maternal smoking information was derived from the prospectively collected data from the beginning of pregnancy until the child was 14 years of age. Analyses were restricted to the 3058 mothers and children whose smoking status was reported.
The proportion of young adults who smoked regularly, either with early onset or late onset, was greater among those whose mothers had smoked during pregnancy compared with those whose mothers had never smoked. The smoking patterns among those adolescent offspring whose mothers stopped smoking during pregnancy, but who then smoked at other times during the child's life, were similar to those whose mothers had never smoked. This association was robust to adjustment for a variety of potential covariates.
The findings provide some evidence for a direct effect of maternal smoking in utero on the development of smoking behaviour patterns of offspring and provide yet another incentive to persuade pregnant women not to smoke.
To describe the prevalence of maternity and paternity among subjects and its association with perinatal, socioeconomic and demographic variables.
The participants were youth, aged 23, on the average, accompanied in a cohort study since they were born, in 1982, in Pelotas (Southern Brazil) and interviewed in 2004-5. Those who were considered eligible referred having had one or more children, whether these were liveborns or stillborns. Data was collected on reproductive health as well as socioeconomic and demographic information, by means of two different instruments. The independent variables were sex and skin color, family income in 1982 and in 2004-5, changes in income, birth weight and educational level when aged 23 years old. Crude and adjusted analysis were conducted by means of Poisson regression so as to investigate the effects of the independent variables on maternity/paternity during adolescence.
Among the 4,297 youth interviewed, 1,373 (32%) were parents and 842 (19.6%) of these had experienced maternity/paternity during their adolescence. Planned pregnancy of the first child was directly related to the youth’s age. Socioeconomic variables were inversely related to the occurrence of maternity/paternity during adolescence. The probability of being an adolescent mother was higher among black and mixed skin colored women, but skin color was not associated to adolescent paternity.
There was a strong relation between adolescent maternity/paternity and socioeconomic conditions, which should be taken into consideration when delineating preventive actions in the field of public health.
Adult; Parents; Pregnancy in Adolescence; Pregnancy, Unplanned; Socioeconomic Factors; Sexual and Reproductive Health; Cohort Studies; Brazil
Maternal greater pre-pregnancy adiposity has been associated with behavioral problems, such as ADHD, and lower intellectual function in offspring. However, few human studies have explored this and it is unclear if intrauterine mechanisms or confounding factors drive these associations.
Patients and Methods
Parental BMI and offspring verbal skills, non-verbal skills and behavioral problems were assessed in the British ALSPAC (N~5000) and Dutch Generation R (N~ 2500) cohorts. We aimed to determine the plausibility of intrauterine effects by (i) adjusting for multiple confounders, (ii) comparing associations between maternal and paternal BMI with offspring cognition/ behaviors, and (iii) searching for cross-cohort consistency.
Maternal pre-pregnancy overweight was associated with reduced child verbal skills (unadjusted). However, after adjusting for confounders, this was not consistently observed in both cohorts. Maternal overweight was also associated with child total behavior problems and externalising problems, even after adjusting for confounders. However, this was observed in Generation R only and was not replicated in ALSPAC. No associations of maternal overweight with child attention problems, emotional/internalising problems, or non-verbal skills were observed in either cohort. Paternal overweight was not associated with any of the child outcomes, but was also less strongly related to potential confounding factors than was maternal overweight.
Overall, we find little consistent evidence of intrauterine effects of maternal pre-pregnancy overweight on child cognition and behavior. Some associations initially observed were not consistently replicated across cohorts or robust to adjustment for confounding factors and are thus likely to reflect confounding by socioeconomic or postnatal factors.
ALSPAC; behavioral problems; cognitive function; cohort; Generation R; intrauterine exposure; obesity; pregnancy
Depression is a prevalent health problem among women during the childbearing years. To obtain a more accurate global picture of maternal postnatal depression, studies that explore maternal depression with comparable measurements are needed. The aims of the study are: (1) to compare the prevalence of maternal depression in the first and second year postpartum between a UK and Brazilian birth cohort study; (2) to explore the extent to which variations in the rates were explained by maternal and infant characteristics, and (3) to investigate income-related inequalities in maternal depression after childbirth in both settings.
Population-based birth cohort studies were carried out in Avon, UK in 1991 (ALSPAC) and in the city of Pelotas, Brazil in 2004, where 13 798 and 4109 women were analysed, respectively. Self-completion questionnaires were used in the ALSPAC study while questionnaires completed by interviewers were used in the Pelotas cohort study. Three repeated measures of maternal depression were obtained using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale in the first and second year after delivery in each cohort. Unadjusted and adjusted analyses were carried out. The Relative index of Inequality was used for the analysis of income-relate inequalities so that results were comparable between cohorts.
At both the second and third time assessments, the likelihood of being depressed was higher among women from the Pelotas cohort study. These differences were not completely explained by differences in maternal and infant characteristics. Income-related inequalities in maternal depression after childbirth were high and of similar magnitude in both cohort studies at the three time assessments.
The burden of maternal depression after childbirth varies between and within populations. Strategies to reduce income-related inequalities in maternal depression should be targeted to low-income women in both developed and developing countries.
We investigated associations between maternal postpartum distress covering anxiety, depression and stress and childhood overweight.
We performed a prospective cohort study, including 21 121 mother-child-dyads from the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC). Maternal distress was measured 6 months postpartum by 9 items covering anxiety, depression and stress. Outcome was childhood overweight at 7-years-of age. Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed and information on maternal age, socioeconomic status, pre-pregnancy BMI, gestational weight gain, parity, smoking during pregnancy, paternal BMI, birth weight, gestational age at birth, sex, breastfeeding and finally infant weight at 5 and 12 month were included in the analyses.
We found, that postpartum distress was not associated with childhood risk of overweight, OR 1.00, 95%CI [0.98–1.02]. Neither was anxiety, depression, or stress exposure, separately. There were no significant differences between the genders. Adjustment for potential confounders did not alter the results.
Maternal postpartum distress is apparently not an independent risk factor for childhood overweight at 7-years-of-age. However, we can confirm previous findings of perinatal determinants as high maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, and smoking during pregnancy being risk factors for childhood overweight.