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Negative maternal mental health during pregnancy increases the risk of psychiatric problems in children, but research on the potential benefits of positive maternal mental health during pregnancy is scarce. We investigated associations between positive maternal mental health composite score, based on reports of maternal positive affect, curiosity, and social support during pregnancy, and children’s psychiatric problems (Child Behavior Checklist) at ages 1.9−5.9 and 7.1−12.1 years among 2636 mother–child dyads of the Prediction and Prevention of Preeclampsia and Intrauterine Growth Restriction study. For each standard deviation higher positive maternal mental health score during pregnancy, total psychiatric problems were 1.37 (95% confidence interval (CI) −1.79,−0.95) t-scores lower in early childhood and 1.75 (95% CI −2.24,−1.26) t-scores lower in late childhood. These associations were independent of covariates and of negative maternal mental health. Total psychiatric problems remained stably lower from early childhood to late childhood in children of mothers with higher positive mental health during pregnancy, whereas they increased in children of mothers with lower positive mental health. Positive maternal mental health in child’s late childhood partially mediated the effects of positive maternal mental health during pregnancy on children’s psychiatric problems. Supporting positive maternal mental health may benefit mothers and children.
The aim of the current study was to examine whether self-control skills in childhood moderate the association between very preterm birth (<32 weeks of gestational age) and emotional problems and peer victimization in adolescence. We used data from four prospective cohort studies, which included 29,378 participants in total (N = 645 very preterm; N = 28,733 full-term). Self-control was mother-reported in childhood at 5–11 years whereas emotional problems and peer victimization were both self- and mother-reported at 12–17 years of age. Findings of individual participant data meta-analysis showed that self-control skills in childhood do not moderate the association between very preterm birth and adolescence emotional problems and peer victimization. It was shown that higher self-control skills in childhood predict lower emotional problems and peer victimization in adolescence similarly in very preterm and full-term borns.
Maternal depression during pregnancy increases the risk for adverse developmental outcomes in children. However, the underpinning biological mechanisms remain unknown. We tested whether depression was associated with levels of and change in the inflammatory state during pregnancy, if early pregnancy overweight/obesity or diabetes/hypertensive pregnancy disorders accounted for/mediated these effects, and if depression added to the inflammation that typically accompanies these conditions.
We analyzed plasma high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and glycoprotein acetyls at three consecutive stages during pregnancy, derived history of depression diagnoses before pregnancy from Care Register for Healthcare (HILMO) (N = 375) and self-reports (N = 347) and depressive symptoms during pregnancy using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale completed concurrently to blood samplings (N = 295). Data on early pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and diabetes/hypertensive pregnancy disorders came from medical records.
Higher overall hsCRP levels, but not change, during pregnancy were predicted by history of depression diagnosis before pregnancy [HILMO: mean difference (MD) = 0.69 standard deviation (s.d.) units; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.26–1.11, self-report: MD = 0.56 s.d.; 95% CI 0.17–0.94] and higher depressive symptoms during pregnancy (0.06 s.d. per s.d. increase; 95% CI 0.00–0.13). History of depression diagnosis before pregnancy also predicted higher overall glycoprotein acetyls (HILMO: MD = 0.52 s.d.; 95% CI 0.12–0.93). These associations were not explained by diabetes/hypertensive disorders, but were accounted for and mediated by early pregnancy BMI. Furthermore, in obese women, overall hsCRP levels increased as depressive symptoms during pregnancy increased (p = 0.006 for interaction).
Depression is associated with a proinflammatory state during pregnancy. These associations are mediated by early pregnancy BMI, and depressive symptoms during pregnancy aggravate the inflammation related to obesity.
Synthetic glucocorticoids, to enhance fetal maturation, are a standard treatment when preterm birth before 34 gestational weeks is imminent. While morbidity- and mortality-related benefits may outweigh potential neurodevelopmental harms in children born preterm (<37 gestational weeks), this may not hold true when pregnancy continues to term (⩾37 gestational weeks). We studied the association of antenatal betamethasone exposure on child mental health in preterm and term children.
We included 4708 women and their children, born 2006–2010, from the Prediction and Prevention of Pre-eclampsia and Intrauterine Growth Restriction Study with information on both antenatal betamethasone treatment and child mental and behavioral disorders from the Finnish Hospital Discharge Register from the child's birth to 31 December 2016. Additional follow-up data on mother-reported psychiatric problems and developmental milestones were available for 2640 children at 3.5 (s.d. = 0.07) years-of-age.
Of the children, 187 were born preterm (61 betamethasone-exposed) and 4521 at term (56 betamethasone-exposed). The prevalence of any mental and behavioral, psychological development, emotional and behavioral, and comorbid disorders was higher in the betamethasone-exposed, compared to non-exposed children [odds ratio 2.76 (95% confidence interval 1.76–4.32), 3.61 (2.19–5.95), 3.29 (1.86–5.82), and 6.04 (3.25–11.27), respectively]. Levels of psychiatric problems and prevalence of failure to meet the age-appropriate development in personal-social skills were also higher in mother-reports of betamethasone-exposed children. These associations did not vary significantly between preterm and term children.
Antenatal betamethasone exposure may be associated with mental health problems in children born preterm and in those who end up being born at term.
Previous studies have linked maternal obesity with depressive symptoms during and after pregnancy. It remains unknown whether obesity associates with consistently elevated depressive symptoms throughout pregnancy, predicts symptoms postpartum when accounting for antenatal symptoms, and if co-morbid hypertensive and diabetic disorders add to these associations. We addressed these questions in a sample of Finnish women whom we followed during and after pregnancy.
Early pregnancy body mass index, derived from the Finnish Medical Birth Register and hospital records in 3234 PREDO study participants, was categorized into underweight (<18.5 kg/m2), normal weight (18.5–24.99 kg/m2), overweight (25–29.99 kg/m2), and obese (⩾30 kg/m2) groups. The women completed the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale biweekly during pregnancy, and at 2.4 (s.d. = 1.2) and/or 28.2 (s.d. = 4.2) weeks after pregnancy.
In comparison to normal weight women, overweight, and obese women reported higher levels of depressive symptoms and had higher odds of clinically significant depressive symptoms during (23% and 43%, respectively) and after pregnancy (22% and 36%, respectively). Underweight women had 68% higher odds of clinically significant depressive symptoms after pregnancy. Overweight and obesity also predicted higher depressive symptoms after pregnancy in women not reporting clinically relevant symptomatology during pregnancy. Hypertensive and diabetic disorders did not explain or add to these associations.
Maternal early pregnancy overweight and obesity and depressive symptoms during and after pregnancy are associated. Mental health promotion should be included as an integral part of lifestyle interventions in early pregnancy obesity and extended to benefit also overweight and underweight women.
Epidemiological studies have shown that a number of nutrients are associated with better physical performance. However, little is still known about the role of the whole diet, particularly a healthy Nordic diet, in relation to physical performance. Therefore, we examined whether a healthy Nordic diet was associated with measures of physical performance 10 years later. We studied 1072 participants from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study. Participants’ diet was assessed using a validated 128-item FFQ at the mean age of 61 years, and a priori-defined Nordic diet score (NDS) was calculated. The score included Nordic fruits and berries, vegetables, cereals, PUFA:SFA and trans-fatty acids ratio, low-fat milk, fish, red and processed meat, total fat and alcohol. At the mean age of 71 years, participants’ physical performance was measured using the Senior Fitness Test (SFT), and an overall SFT score was calculated. Women in the highest fourth of the NDS had on average 5 points higher SFT score compared with those in the lowest fourth (Pfor trend 0·005). No such association was observed in men. Women with the highest score had 17 % better result in the 6-min walk test, 16 % better arm curl and 20 % better chair stand results compared with those with the lowest score (all P values<0·01). In conclusion, a healthy Nordic diet was associated with better overall physical performance among women and might help decrease the risk of disability in old age.
Strong epidemiological evidence suggests that slow prenatal or postnatal growth is associated with an increased risk of CVD and other metabolic diseases. However, little is known whether early growth affects postprandial metabolism and, especially, the appetite regulatory hormone system. Therefore, we investigated the impact of early growth on postprandial appetite regulatory hormone responses to two high-protein and two high-fat content meals. Healthy, 65–75-year-old volunteers from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study were recruited; twelve with a slow increase in BMI during the first year of life (SGI group) and twelve controls. Subjects ate a test meal (whey meal, casein meal, SFA meal and PUFA meal) once in a random order. Plasma glucose, insulin, TAG, NEFA, ghrelin, peptide tyrosine-tyrosine (PYY), glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide, glucagon-like peptide-1 and a satiety profile were measured in the fasting state and for 4 h after each test meal. Compared with the controls, the SGI group had about 1·5-fold higher insulin responses after the whey meal (P= 0·037), casein meal (P= 0·023) and PUFA meal (P= 0·002). TAG responses were 34–69 % higher for the SGI group, but only the PUFA-meal responses differed significantly between the groups. The PYY response of the SGI group was 44 % higher after the whey meal (P= 0·046) and 115 % higher after the casein meal (P= 0·025) compared with the controls. No other statistically significant differences were seen between the groups. In conclusion, early growth may have a role in programming appetite regulatory hormone secretion in later life. Slow early growth is also associated with higher postprandial insulin and TAG responses but not with incretin levels.
This chapter uses new epidemiological data to examine the role of materno-placental interactions in initiating chronic disease in the offspring. The size, weight and shape of the placenta are all subject to wide variations. Its size reflects its ability to transfer nutrients. In humans, placental growth responds to maternal influences. Maternal anemia and high maternal body mass index are associated with a high placental weight to birth weight ratio. The observations on hypertension established that the relation between placental size/shape and fetal programming depend on the mother. There are similar materno-placental interactions in the programming of coronary heart disease. Growth of the placental surface is polarized from the time of implantation. The human fetus may attempt to compensate for undernutrition by expansion of the placental surface along its minor axis. The maternal/ placental programming of chronic disease differs in boys and girls.
A non-optimal foetal environment, reflected in smaller birth size and shorter duration of gestation, is a risk factor for compromised health later in life.
To examine whether smaller birth size and shorter gestation predict depressive symptoms.
A total of 1371 members of a cohort born between 1934 and 1944 at term (259–294 days' gestation) in Helsinki, Finland, completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES–D) at an average age of 61.5 years (BDI) and 63.4 years (BDI and CES–D).
Gestational length predicted depressive symptoms linearly and independently of gender and birth weight: per day decrease in gestational length, depressive symptoms scores increased by 0.8-0.9% (95% CI 0.2-1.4, P<0.009). Weight, length and head circumference at birth showed no linear association with depression, adjusted for gender and gestational length. The results did not change when further controlled for socioeconomic characteristics at birth and in adulthood, age and body mass index in adulthood.
Susceptibility to depressive symptoms may relate to shorter length of gestation.
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