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Policy in many high-income settings supports giving pregnant women with previous caesarean section a choice between an elective repeat caesarean section (ERCS) or planning a vaginal birth after previous caesarean (VBAC), provided they have no contraindications to VBAC. Despite the potential for this choice to influence women's mental health, evidence about the associated effect to counsel women and identify potential targets for intervention is limited. This study investigated the association between planned mode of birth after previous caesarean and women's subsequent use of psychotropic medications.
A population-based cohort study of 31 131 women with one or more previous caesarean sections who gave birth to a term singleton in Scotland between 2010 and 2015 with no prior psychotropic medications in the year before birth was conducted using linked Scottish national datasets. Cox regression was used to investigate the association between planned mode of birth and being dispensed psychotropic medications in the first year postpartum adjusted for socio-demographic, medical, pregnancy-related factors and breastfeeding.
Planned VBAC (n = 10 220) compared to ERCS (n = 20 911) was associated with a reduced risk of the mother being dispensed any psychotropic medication [adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.78–0.92], an antidepressant (aHR 0.83, 95% CI 0.76–0.90), and at least two consecutive antidepressants (aHR 0.83, 95% CI 0.75–0.91) in the first year postpartum.
Women giving birth by ERCS were more likely than those having a planned VBAC to be dispensed psychotropic medication including antidepressants in the first year postpartum. Further research is needed to establish the reasons behind this new finding.
This paper describes the creation of a unique maternal identifier for use in the investigation of perinatal, postneonatal and child outcomes in relation to maternal characteristics. All Midwives’ records of Western Australian (WA) births were routinely linked to registrations of births and deaths for infants born from 1980 to 1992 inclusive, then linked to WA hospital discharge data and to registries of birth defects and cerebral palsy to create a longitudinal health record for each infant. However, since each birth to a woman was recorded as a separate event, there was no way to identify siblings. Probabilistic record linkage, based on information about the mother, was used for this task. Logical inconsistencies within the data were used to test the validity of the linkages between birth records attributed to each mother. Information about the mother from other epidemiological studies and data abstracted from hospital case notes was also used to validate sibships. Linkage of the records of 310,255 births in WA during that period resulted in the formation of 181,133 sibships of one or more children. Pooling the results of all of the validation methods gave an error of 0.9%. Linkage identified 3678 sibships containing multiple births, and 305 sets of maternal twins. Ascertainment of twins and their siblings for an ongoing twin register, the WA Twin Child Health (WATCH) study, was a natural consequence of this process.
The aim of this study was to determine the reliability of family and professional assessment of manual ability using the Manual Ability Classification System (MACS) for children with cerebral palsy (CP) in the UK. Families who were taking part in a study measuring the activities and participation of children with CP were invited to classify their child's manual ability using the MACS. Postal surveys were conducted with the families and health professionals nominated by the families. Perfect agreement was assessed as a percentage; chance-corrected agreement was measured using Cohen's kappa (κ), and reliability was determined using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Families of 91/128 (71%) children responded to the survey (53 males, 38 females; mean age 9y 11mo [SD 1y 11mo], range 6–12y) out of whom 88 indicated a single MACS level. Seventy-two children (82%) were classified with spastic CP, 12 (14%) with dyskinesia, two (2%) with ataxia, and two (2%) were not classified. There were 21, 27, 11, 10, and 19 children who were classified by their families in Gross Motor Function Classification System Levels I to V respectively; 14, 30, 18, 13, and 13 children classified by their families in MACS levels I to V. The survey of health professionals generated 60/71 (85%) responses from physiotherapists, 55/58 (93%) responses from paediatricians, and 21/24 (88%) responses from occupational therapists. There was perfect agreement between families and professionals for more than 50% of children; the indices of chance-corrected agreement ranged from κ=0.3 to 0.5, and the reliability coefficients ranged from ICC 0.7 to 0.9. Indices of agreement and reliability between families and professionals were equivalent to those between different professionals. The MACS, therefore, offers a valid and reliable method for communicating about the manual ability of children with CP. Families and professionals may not always agree precisely on a MACS level, particularly if children's performance of manual tasks varies in different environments.
The aim of this study was to use family-assessed instruments and details of children's impairments to explore factors affecting the activities and participation of children with cerebral palsy (CP). A postal survey was conducted with families of a geographically defined population of children with CP aged 6 to 12 years. Family-assessed indices of children's activities and participation were the Activities Scale for Kids (ASK) and Lifestyle Assessment Questionnaire (LAQ-CP). Families also assessed children's abilities using the Gross Motor Function and Manual Ability Classification Systems (GMFCS; MACS). Details of children's impairments were available from the 4Child epidemiological database and used with the GMFCS and MACS as explanatory variables in multiple regression analyses to identify their effect on children's activities and participation. Families of 175/314 (56%) children returned an assessment using the GMFCS and 129 (41%) children participated fully by returning all the questionnaires. Full participants (72 males, 57 females) did not differ from those who did not take part by their age, sex, CP characteristics, or associated impairments: GMFCS Level I–25, Level II–43, Level III–15, Level IV–14, Level V–23; MACS Level I–14, Level II–30, Level III–18, Level IV–13, Level V–13. Scores for the ASK and LAQ-CP Physical Independence and Mobility domains were predicted well by children's movement, manual, and intellectual disability, and also, to some extent, by the presence of seizures or speech problems. LAQ-CP domains for Economic and Clinical Burden and Social Integration were not well explained by children's abilities and impairments. Family assessment, therefore, offers a useful method for measuring children's activities and participation; however, currently available instruments do not fully represent all the domains in the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Children's abilities only partially explain their activities and participation.
Between June 1993 and December 1996, 276 term newborn infants with encephalopathy and 564 randomly selected term controls were enrolled in a population-based study of moderate and severe term newborn encephalopathy (NE) in Western Australia. During comprehensive neurobehavioural and cognitive follow-up of all patients and controls at 3 years and again at 5 years of age we found an unexpected but strong association between NE and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). A diagnosis of ASD by age 5 years was reached using criteria according of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, 4th edition. Linking records to the Western Australian Disability Services Commission Register ensured that no child in the study with ASD was missed. By age 5 years, 37 (13.4%) infants with NE and one (0.2%) control had died. Among the 239 survivors of NE, 12 (5%) were diagnosed with an ASD. Of these, 10 (4.2%) met the full criteria for autism, one had pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified, and one had Asperger syndrome. Among the 563 surviving controls, five (0.8%) were diagnosed with an ASD: three with autism, one with autism/possible Asperger syndrome, and one with Asperger syndrome. Compared with the controls, the children who had experienced NE were 5.9 times (95% confidence interval 2.0–16.9) more likely to have been diagnosed with an ASD.
Cerebral palsy (CP) can occur in term infants with or without preceding newborn encephalopathy. We compared the type and severity of CP and associated disability in these two groups. Participants from a population-based case-control study of term newborn encephalopathy were followed up for 6 years and linked to the Western Australian Cerebral Palsy Register. The remaining term infants with CP for the same period were also identified from the Cerebral Palsy Register. 13% of neonatal survivors of term newborn encephalopathy had CP, a rate of 116 per 1000 term live births. Overall, 24% of term infants with CP followed newborn encephalopathy. CP following newborn encephalopathy was more likely to: affect males (72% vs 56%); be severe (47% vs 25%); and be of spastic quadriplegia or dyskinetic types. Cognitive impairment was more common (75% vs 43%) and severe (41% vs 16%), as was epilepsy (53% vs 29%) in survivors of encephalopathy. These children were also more likely to: be non-verbal (47% vs 22%); have a severe composite disability score (47% vs 26%); and die between time of diagnosis of CP and age 6 years (5-year cumulative mortality 19% vs 5%). Children born at term who develop CP following newborn encephalopathy have a poorer prognosis than those with CP who were not encephalopathic in the first week of life.
This study was designed to investigate birth defects found in association with newborn encephalopathy. All possible birth defects were ascertained in a population-based study of 276 term infants with moderate or severe encephalopathy and 564 unmatched term control infants. A strong association between birth defects and newborn encephalopathy was found with defects affecting 27.5% of children with encephalopathy and 4.3% of control children (odds ratio 8.55; 95% confidence interval 5.25 to 13.91; p<0.001). In 11.8% of infants with a birth defect the defect was not diagnosed until after the newborn period, illustrating one of the difficulties in attempting to exclude infants with birth defects from studies of newborn encephalopathy. The majority of defects (89%) were not specific anomalies of the CNS. In 36.8% of children with encephalopthy who had a birth defect, the defect was considered to be the probable cause of the encephalopathy. Infants with birth defects who had encephalopathy had a poorer prognosis than those without: they were twice as likely to die by the age of 2 years and three times more likely to have cerebral palsy. This study catalogues the spectrum of birth defects associated with newborn encephalopathy and illustrates the importance of their inclusion when investigating both the aetiology and outcome of this condition.
To test the hypothesis that children with suboptimal fetal growth have significantly poorer mental health outcomes than those with optimal growth, a population random sample survey of children aged 4 to 16 years in Western Australia in 1993 was conducted. The Child Behavior Checklist (Achenbach 1991a) and the Teacher Report Form (Achenbach 1991b) were used to define mental health morbidity. Survey data for 1775 children aged 4 to 13 years were available for linkage with original birth information. The percentage of expected birthweight (PEBW) was used as the measure of fetal growth. Children below the 2nd centile of PEBW who had achieved only 57% to 72% of their expected birthweight given their gestation at delivery were at significant risk of a mental health morbidity (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.18, 7.12). In addition, they were more likely to be rated as academically impaired (OR 6.0, 95% CI 2.25, 16.06) and to have poor general health (OR 5.1, 95% CI 1.69, 15.52).
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